The NBA Draft is coming up this week and that means many story lines for many teams will take a twist through trades and picks. The biggest possible trade story leading up to the Draft is will the Magic trade Dwight Howard away for some great picks or even top level players. I have no faith that the Magic will take advantage of teams wanting Howard and wanting him now. Teams like the Houston Rockets are trading players and moving up in the 1st round with 3 picks in the top 20 as of Tuesday. Howard’s contract is up in 2013 and the Rockets want him prior to his contract expiring. The Magic might have a good opportunity to do something about their “Dwight Drama”.
Dwight Howard on draft day 2004 after being selected with the 1st overall pick by the Magic.
The Story of Dwight Howard and the Magic has been a complicated one. The Magic drafted Howard out of high school in 2004 with the 1st overall pick. Howard over the years has developed into one of the best big men in the game and has had some success with the team. Howard led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals where they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games. The Magic have been contenders in the Eastern Conference for the last few years in large part to Howard. Dwight Howard has however also brought a lot of controversy to Orlando with his talent. He had a very public feud with the Magic’s former Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. It got really ugly during last season and Van Gundy was fired earlier this summer. Howard also brought drama near the trade deadline when he was not signing his clause to come back for his final year of his contract. He ended up signing hours before the deadline and the Magic did not trade him. It was a smart move for the Magic to put the pressure on Howard and to not trade him at the time when a trade for him would not yield enough in return for the Magic.
I say the time to pull the trigger is on draft night. The Magic could possibly be offered some really good deals and should strongly consider every one they receive. The Magic need not look to far into their past to be reminded why they should get rid of Howard before his contract expires.
In 1996 Shaq left the Magic for the Lakers in a similar situation where the team was not willing to give him exactly what he wanted and headed elsewhere. Shaq left and the Magic had nothing to show for it, they would have gotten a mega trade if they would have just looked around instead of fooling themselves that they could resign him.
Dwight Howard has made it no secret that he would like to play for the soon to be Nets of Brooklyn or for the Dallas Mavericks. The relationship between the Magic and Howard is just too volatile for it to continue. The Magic for a long time have been fooling themselves again that like Shaq that they can resign the star. I think there is no way he would sign with the Magic again even if the money was right. Howard is an awesome talent but he is just not going to stay with the team any longer than he needs to. The Magic cannot afford to have Howard leave and get nothing in return. He is too good of a talent and a player of his caliber could yield players that could build this team for the future. The Magic owe it to the city of Orlando and their fans to send Howard packing. So as the saying goes “THE TIME IS NOW!”
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Ex Orland Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy
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The Stan Van Gundy era came to an end in Orlando on Monday when the Orlando Magic fired their coach. The firing has to be both a blessing and a curse for Van Gundy. He doesn’t have a job but at the same time he no longer has to deal with Dwight Howard drama. Van Gundy and the Magic’s star center Dwight Howard have been feuding all year both behind the scenes and in front of the media. Their were rumors that Howard was calling for Van Gundy’s firing by the middle of this past season. Even though Magic front office staff had confirmed those rumors, Howard has repeatedly denied such allegations. Well Monday it came to pass and Van Gundy was gone, whether it was due to the pressure Howard put on the Magic is hard to say.
Stan Van Gundy came to the Magic in 2007. He was essentially a back up plan when the Florida Gators head coach signed with the Orlando Magic and then 5 days later quit and went back to the Gators. There have been a lot of ups and downs for the team during Van Gundy’s tenure. Van Gundy leaves the Magic with a 259-135 record and a 31-28 record in the playoffs. He was with the team for a total of 5 seasons. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009, only to fall victim quickly to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic also made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2010 losing the series 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.
The timing is very strange to me though, with the NBA Draft is coming up next month. The Magic need to find their new head coach and they need to find him soon. It is imperative to have a new coach in time to have him on board for the draft and helping the team set for in a new and hopefully successful direction.
This next season will be a very interesting and probably very stressful on for the Orland Magic. Dwight Howard’s contract is up at the end of the season. The Magic will definitely want to either sign Howard or trade him away. The Magic almost traded Howard this past season when it was unclear whether he would accept his team option for another season to close out his contract. The Magic have never forgotten the situation Shaq put them in after the 1996 season. Shaq left the team for The Lakers and the Magic got nothing in return due to the fact Shaq was a free agent.
Howard is a fantastic player and has potential to be an NBA Finals MVP. Howard will however need to tone down the drama that plagued last season in order for that to be possible. He would need to make a decision and resign or have the team deal him away way before the trade deadline if he wants to contend for the NBA Championship this season. One has to hope that with Van Gundy gone Howard can focus more on the court and lead the Magic the way he has shown himself capable of doing.
So will we see Dwight Howards final game with the Magic this year or the continuation of the good career he has had with the Magic. Is a championship in the Magic’s future? I think Dwight Howard’s season and decision has a lot to do with the answer to that question.
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