Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard Trade Reasoning Contains Crucial Flaw
In that sense, the team accomplished its mission, landing five future draft picks (including a first-rounder from the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers), Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga and Al Harrington in the four-team Howard blockbuster.
There's just one major problem with the Magic's plan.
The OKC model isn't one other teams should attempt to replicate.
The Thunder bottomed out for two years, cashed in on every first-round pick they had from 2007 to 2009 (including unearthing Serge Ibaka later in the first round) and haven't made any major managerial mistakes since landing Kevin Durant in 2007.
That's not a plan that falls into place for teams very often. Players of Durant's caliber only come around once or twice a decade, and he's the core of OKC's rebuilding process.
Not to mention, if the Magic are truly dedicated to following the OKC model, they're not doing a great job so far.
The then-Seattle Supersonics only traded away their best players, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, after learning they had obtained the No. 2 selection in the 2007 draft and would be afforded the opportunity to select either Durant or Greg Oden.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Sorry, Andrew Nicholson, but you're no Kevin Durant.
The Magic will be terrible this year. The front office expected nothing less.
They'll be lucky to win 30 games this season, which likely means a top-five draft pick for them next summer.
That's all well and good.
The only problem is, the 2013 draft class isn't expected to be loaded like the 2012 draft class was.
That's not so great for the Magic if they're expecting to speed through the rebuilding process like OKC managed to do.
Two seasons after drafting Durant, the Thunder won 50 games and put a scare into the L.A. Lakers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
A year later, the Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals before losing to the Dallas Mavericks. This past season, they made it to the NBA Finals.
In five years, the team went from having the No. 2 pick to the NBA Finals.
Again, not easy to replicate.
Even if the Magic manage to finish with the worst record in the NBA, they're not guaranteed the No. 1 pick. The Charlotte Bobcats learned that lesson the hard way this past season, despite finishing with the worst winning percentage of any team in NBA history.
The last team with the worst record to win the No. 1 pick was, speak of the devil, the Magic back in 2004.
That year, they won the right to draft Dwight Howard.
In 2013, Dwight Howard Jr. appears to be nowhere in sight for Orlando.
One look at Orlando's depth chart reveals how much work remains for new general manager Rob Hennigan. The Magic appear ready to tout the league's worst rotation on opening night, with a mishmash of young talent paired with Harrington, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu.
Now that the Magic have finally taken the first step on the road to rebuilding, Turkoglu could well be the next player out the door, with the rookie Harkless waiting eagerly as a backup.
But if the team truly intended to trade Howard this summer and begin on the rebuilding route, what's the explanation for the three-year, $25.2 million contract handed to Nelson in July?
To Hennigan's credit, he hasn't sworn off improving through free agency or trades. According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com, as long as the Magic don't make any major free-agent splashes next summer, the team could have enough cap space for two maximum contracts in 2014.
Especially with the upcoming sign-and-trade restrictions for luxury tax-paying teams after this season, an abundance of open cap space will be an extremely valuable commodity in these next few years.
What grade would you give Orlando in the Howard trade?
However, realistically, there's little reason for Magic fans to tune in until 2014, at the earliest. Orlando will challenge Charlotte for being the worst in the NBA this upcoming season, and not even OKC turned it around in one year.
And that's the best-case scenario.
As long as the Magic owners and fans have the patience to wait this thing out until the latter half of the decade, Hennigan should feel confident in his decision to go through with the four-team blockbuster.
Losing consistently isn't something that can be easily stomached, though.
Especially if it happens over the course of four or five years.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?