There's no sugar coating it, the Magic got screwed over pretty bad without even the courtesy of a call back from Howard.
Many people would argue that Magic general manager Rob Hennigan did a poor job of handling the Howard trade, but in reality things could have been much worse.
While the short term reward is almost nonexistent, there's potential for a pretty substantial pay off in the next few years.
Howard was going to leave Orlando by the end of the season no matter what.
He had no interest in sticking around for another rebuilding process, so the best move left for this franchise was to at least get something in return.
His press conference with the Los Angeles Lakers was evidence enough. Howard was all smiles and described Los Angeles as his "home" for the last four months during this whole ordeal.
The Magic did the correct move by avoiding being scorned by another vivacious big man. The franchise didn't get anything in return after Shaq left Orlando in 1996. It was wise for the Magic's management to learn from past mistakes, and get some compensation this time around.
The 26-year old Arron Afflalo is the best piece out of this trade. He's an upgrade from Jason Richardson, and Afflalo has youth on his side.
While he isn't a star player and won't be in the future, he's still a great talent for this team going forward.
Afflalo had a solid year last season while he averaged 15.2 points per game on .471 percent shooting. With this ever improving shooting guard on the roster it's no stretch to say he could lead the team in scoring in the 2012-2013 campaign.
Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic are also two young players that shouldn't be forgotten about. They both have the skills to be solid pieces for the future.
In a perfect scenario the Magic would have received a bounty of lottery picks for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
That of course was never going to happen. Orlando was never going to get full value in return for D12. Trading for Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol wouldn't have helped this team in the rebuilding process.
At this point Iggy and Gasol are too old to go through a rebuilding process and Bynum had no interest in signing an extension. It's only logical to acquire draft picks instead. The only problem is that these picks are coming from playoff teams.
Since there's the possibility of snatching gems late in the draft, Orlando's draft choices shouldn't be anything to frown about yet.
The New Jersey Nets' deal appeared to be the better move because the talent that Orlando would be receiving.
The proposed deal included Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks and draft picks.
However, with that core the Magic would have been stuck in the middle of the pack for years. Also, the draft picks from the Nets wouldn't have been all that great since New Jersey would have evolved into a championship caliber team with Howard.
For a team that's rebuilding it's far better to be lousy than mediocre. After trading D12, the Magic are sure to be one of the worst teams in the NBA. But with failure comes high draft picks.
Even though this will frustrate fans for a few years, the potential payoff is substantially better.
One of the major downsides of this trade is that a huge amount of cap space was not cleared and Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis' contracts are still on the books.
As of right now the Magic are over the salary cap with a total salary of over $60 million for the 2012-2013 season.
According to Accuscore.com, the Magic are predicted to win about 26 games next season without Howard. With a record like that, Orlando will be one of the worst teams in the league that's not under the cap. Although, the Magic will have high picks in the future.
There's still hope for the long term. By the 2014-2015 the Magic will have a combined salary of under $30 million. This gives the franchise the opportunity to add two-max contracts comfortably.