Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: 5 Steps To Ensure Howard Signs an Extension
Dwight Howard was the topic of interest before the lockout began and he will once again be the topic of interest when the lockout is lifted.
Some of the possible trade talks have made sense, though most have been downright foolish. Anyone who really thinks Dwight is going to be traded to Orlando's in-state rival, the Miami Heat, needs a reality check. The idea of Howard pulling a Shaquille O'Neal and taking his talents to Hollywood is equally preposterous.
Howard has given the Orlando Magic seven unbelievable seasons and seemingly made the Orlando Magic a relevant title contender all by himself.
Oh yeah, and the new home of the Orlando Magic, Amway Center, might as well be called "The House that Dwight Built."
Bring in a Point Guard
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jameer Nelson may be one of Dwight Howard's best friends, but if Howard truly wants to win an NBA title, he needs to sign off on the Magic going after a marquee point guard.
The first name that comes to mind is Chris Paul. Paul has been the talk of Orlando Magic fans for two years now and if the Magic could pull off a trade for Paul this season, Howard would for sure sign on the dotted line for years to come.
Deron Williams is another point guard who could possibly join Howard in Orlando. Despite being traded to the Nets midseason last year, Williams is yet to sign an extension with New Jersey and recently signed on to play for Turkish club Besiktas, if the lockout persists.
Williams is another point guard that would be sure to make Howard feel comfortable signing long-term with Orlando.
Consult with Howard Before Any Moves Are Made
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Whatever front-office decisions the Orlando Magic are going to make this offseason, Dwight Howard should be involved in them.
I'm not saying that general manager Otis Smith should have Howard talking to other NBA front-office personnel, but he should at least be asking for his opinion before any moves are made. Or, for that matter, the Magic should talk to Howard as soon as the lockout is lifted and see if he has any suggestions for the team moving forward.
Some people may feel players should not be involved with front-office decisions, but the NBA has become a star-driven league, and if you want to keep your stars, you have to cater to them.
Is Stan the Man?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Dwight Howard and head coach Stan Van Gundy have had their differences over the past few seasons. Howard has even suggested that Van Gundy not be so critical when players mess up publicly.
No one really knows the relationship between Howard and Van Gundy, but it appears from the outside looking in that is has never been great.
Let's face it—if it ever got to a situation where the Magic had to decide between Howard or Van Gundy, they would obviously give Stan the boot.
I'm not saying the Magic should fire Van Gundy now, but if they begin to struggle next season, a new head coach that Howard approves of could entice him to stay.
Say Goodbye to Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Magic must find a way to get rid of their contracts with either Hedo Turkoglu or Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas is set to make nearly $20 million in 2011, while Turkoglu is due over $23 million over the next two seasons.
Arenas is making superstar money despite being anything but a superstar. Arenas averaged just eight points and three assists for the Magic last year, while Turkoglu averaged 11 points and five assists.
The Magic have far too much money tied up in Arenas and Turkoglu and must find a way to rid themselves of at least one of these terrible contracts—which will be tough to do.
The best shot the Magic have to accomplish this is to hope that when the lockout is lifted the new collective bargaining agreement will allow for some kind of buyout for their worst contract, meaning they would be able to get Arenas off the books.
It will be tough to trade either of these players and convince a new team to take on one of these contracts, but then again, it's the NBA—where amazing happens.
Give Howard the Keys to the City
Dwight Howard should not only be given the keys to the city, but also anything else he wants. If Howard wants a statue in front of Amway Center, build him one. If Howard wants to run for mayor, vote for him. Well, maybe voting for him is taking it a little far, but you get the point.
Howard leaving the Orlando Magic would not only be devastating for the team, but also to the entire city. The buzz from the new arena would seemingly disappear and the Orlando Magic would more than likely become an irrelevant team for years to come.
Whatever it takes to convince Howard that he is best suited to not only play in Orlando, but also to live in Orlando, the people of Orlando must make it happen.