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the Dwightmare is finally over.
That was the headline on ESPN’s front page, and it effectively brought the Dwight Howard saga to a close.
With offers of Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks from Brooklyn, a myriad of draft picks and prospects from Houston and numerous trade scenarios involving the Lakers twin towers, there was plenty of intrigue regarding who would replace Howard.
The answer? Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and Christian Eyenga. The end result was a four-team trade that involved the Lakers getting Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark, Philadelphia landing Bynum and Jason Richardson and Andre Iguodala putting on a Nuggets jersey.
With options on the table that allowed them to take back the second-best center in the game, Andrew Bynum, or promising talents Lopez and Brooks, Orlando instead chose to take a group of complementary players, only one of which is fit for a starting role. Granted, they also received a handful of draft picks, but the other three teams involved all got better, which should land them in the mid-to-late first round.
Rob Hennigan was quoted as saying (via CBS Sports), "A primary goal for our basketball team is to achieve sustainability while maintaining a long-term vision. We feel this deal puts us in a position to begin building in that direction." This quote is sure to be a dagger in the hearts of Magic fans, as the Magic's offseason moves lend little credibility to his statement.
They overpaid to re-sign Jameer Nelson, failed to unload Hedo Turkoglu’s onerous contract, took back big, long term deals for Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington and failed to attain a player even close to All-Star-caliber.
The team that gave up the best player in the trade failed to come away with one of the deal’s top three players and landed Rob Hennigan in Otis Smith territory mere months into his Orlando tenure. Sadly, the franchise continues to live up to its nickname of the Orlando Tragic, as it continues to break hearts throughout central Florida.
Although Dwight Howard’s departure was imminent, the Magic’s cellar-dwelling future seems just as certain.