Dwight Howard recently voiced his opinion yet again, and it is hard to overlook his most recent declaration made during an interview on Monday with NBA.com, stating that he will become a free agent next summer unless Orlando can win a championship. Some may see this as a jab at his teammates, frustration, a direct message to the Orlando head office, or a combination of the three.
This poses the question to the Orlando franchise, should they trade Dwight Howard prior to the trade deadline and rebuild, or make every effort to bring in a solid squad around him that would enable a long playoff run?
Many teams have seen franchise players leave due to the inability of the team to have success in the playoffs, or even make the playoffs in some cases (Bosh with Toronto). Due to this, teams are forced to rebuild through the draft, and have a much smaller chance of becoming an elite team in the near future.
Dwight Howard clearly wants changes to occur next season, and for Orlando to build around him, they are going to have to dump some of the large contracts they have invested in players who fail to play to the same measure of what they are earning. Namely Arenas, Richardson and Turkoglu are players who are earning at least 10 million, something many fans are questioning regarding their on-court value.
With Richardson leaving they have some cap room, and the question remains as to what type of players they should obtain. There is no doubt the Magic have attempted to surround themselves with shooters to play off of Howard’s inside presence, and generally players like Richardson have had some solid defence to go with his eminent three-point shooting ability. But they also have players with talent that aren’t as expensive, in Anderson and Bass, who could be built around as long as Dwight stays.
Regardless of what the team ultimately decides, it is clear that if they want to keep Howard, they are going to have to explore the free agent market, and hope that some team is nice enough to take on the contract of Gilbert Arenas. If they can’t make a big enough splash in the market during this offseason, or trade for some defensive minded players who also can hit an open three, then maybe they should part with the dominant centre in order to ensure they still have a future.