If Dwight Howard Walks, Where Will the Orlando Magic Turn?
Dwight Howard has mentioned that he wants to break into the acting scene. It's no wonder that we've heard a thousand times he could end up in Los Angeles. This is a very real possibility, so if it happens, where do the Orlando Magic turn?
The Magic have been through this scenario twice before in their history. Each time, they have suffered the doldrums of multiple losing seasons before drafting another superstar.
The Magic were lucky to have Shaquille O'Neal at center from 1992 to 1996. He turned the new franchise into a contender for a few years. Then he was swayed to play with the Los Angeles Lakers under a $121 million contract.
They weren't very good for a while. Tracy McGrady came to town from the Toronto Raptors in 2000 and went to the playoffs three straight years, though they lost in the first round each time. In the third year, they were up 3-1 on the Detroit Pistons, but ended up losing 4-3. The 2003-2004 season turned out to be McGrady's last in Orlando, and one of the Magic's toughest seasons ever.
In 2004, they drafted Howard and seemed to have a clean slate. He's been the most dominant center since Shaq was in his prime. He muscled Orlando past LeBron James and the Big Three of the Boston Celtics in 2009 to win the Eastern Conference and eventually fall short of the ultimate goal.
Of course, questionable trades and very high cap numbers have hurt the Magic since then. Due to that, he may end up leaving. Unless there is an amnesty clause in the new NBA deal, the Magic may not be able to sign anyone worth persuading Howard to stick around.
If Howard leaves, do the Magic continue searching the free-agent wire for dominance, or do they go back to building through the draft and supplementing the roster with proven players?
Do they let Otis Smith sort things out, or do they overhaul the front office?
I want to hear what you guys think.
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