Dwight Howard can bring some clarity today

Today is the day Superman can reveal his true intentions.

At least that’s the way it should go sometime after 10 a.m. EST when Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith are finally permitted to speak to each other for the first time since June 30.

We are now nine days removed from the tentative settlement to end the NBA lockout, and we’ve already been treated to two different versions of the Chris Paul story — he has made it known to the New Orleans Hornets that he wants to be traded to the New York Knicks, or he hasn’t. You choose who you want to believe.

We already know that Deron Williams is not going to sign an extension with the New Jersey Nets and will become an unrestricted free agent in July, but what we don’t know if he’ll ultimately end up closer to the Bay Area than Brooklyn.

As for Howard, many have long suspected that he aspires to play under brighter lights. And we all realize that the Los Angeles Lakers are the one team out there that has the most fitting goods to replace him by sending Andrew Bynum, Flotsam and Jetsam to Orlando.

We also know there are 35 million reasons why Howard, if he truly desires a trade, would want one sooner rather than later.

What we do not have is a reading from Howard himself — although Howard’s admirers, such as Magic fan Evan Singer, are doing their best to elicit something of substance out of Howard on Twitter.

But the most substantive thing Howard has said when given 140 characters to answer is “Would y’all talk to me about something else(?)”

From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “One thing is certain: All of the Magic’s next steps — how the team approaches free agency and the strategy it employs with the amnesty clause — revolve around what Howard says.
The perennial All-NBA center has said he hasn’t decided what he’ll do, but those public statements were made months ago. And Magic officials need to know what he’s thinking. In an interview with the Sentinel on Wednesday, Smith said the Magic want to retain Howard for years to come. But Smith also didn’t rule out trading Howard if it’s necessary to do so. And Smith hasn’t changed his stance.”

Robbins wrote those sentences two days before Howard’s former teammate, Matt Barnes, told reporters in Los Angeles that he has spoken with both Howard and Baron Davis (who is a candidate to be waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers through the amnesty provision), and both are angling for a change of address.

Here is a video of that Barnes interview posted by the Kamenetsky brothers of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“Is it possible that Barnes was being only half-serious or that he was tweaking the same Orlando Magic officials who decided not to bring him back after he became a free agent in 2010?,” Robbins wrote on the Sentinel. “Yes, it’s definitely possible. (Barnes hasn’t yet returned a message I sent to him earlier today. Also note: I’ve given Howard multiple opportunities to discuss his long-term plans, and he’s declined to address those plans each time.) And is it possible that Howard really hasn’t decided on his future yet — that the Lakers are merely a second option if things don’t work out with the Magic? Yes, it’s possible. So be careful not to jump to any definitive conclusions when you watch this video. But also remember that Barnes isn’t hiding behind the shroud of anonymity.”

Someone who is hiding behind the shroud of anonymity is one of Howard’s “closest confidants” who spoke to sportscaster David Baumann of Central Florida News 13, telling him Howard’s preference is to stay in Orlando if the Magic are able to “hit a home run” and acquire Paul from New Orleans or Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors.

Baumann notes that he was the only journalist at Rollins College on Saturday as Howard worked out. Click here to view Baumann’s optimistic report for the Bright House Sports Network.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi weighed in with a little more pessimism after discussing the situation with ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy.

“The most outspoken, tell-it-like-it-is NBA commentator this side of Charles Barkley says the Magic must take the offensive and find out immediately what Dwight Howard’s future plans are. No dilly-dallying or attention-hounding, LeBron-sounding tapdancing until the end of the season. ‘What teams like Orlando (with Dwight Howard) and New Orleans (with Chris Paul) have learned from the LeBron thing is that you can’t let the players be in control of the situation,’ says Jeff Van Gundy, the ABC-ESPN analyst who happens to be the brother of the Magic’s coach. “… “You either have to get a player to declare that he’s all the way in with you or that he’s all the way out and wants to move on. You can’t let him straddle the fence the whole year and risk losing him for nothing. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Otis Smith needs to invite Dwight Howard and his agent into his office ASAP, plug in the Tom Petty Greatest Hits CD and cue it up to, “I Need to Know.” … “If you think you’re gonna leave then you better say so!” The good news is it sounds like Smith plans on doing just that and asking Dwight for an answer. The bad news is that Magic fans might not like Dwight’s answer. Smith told Orlando Sentinel reporter Josh Robbins earlier this past week that he would not rule out trading Dwight, which is in stark contrast to what he said back in April when he told the Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz that trading Howard will never be an option. The cynic in me says this drastic change in Smith’s stance means the Magic see the handwriting on the wall and already have a decent idea Howard may leave. That would be sad, but don’t blame Howard, blame the NBA owners. They’re the ones who agreed to this new collective-bargaining agreement that gives the Magic no immediate help in retaining their franchise player.”

Dwight? Whatcha got to say?

 

 

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  1. Steven says

    The Clippers have the best overall trade package. But according to Alex Kennedy, Dwight is not interested in the Clippers long term. That would leave the Nets and Lakers, and by far, if Orlando is looking for a package to rebuild with, New Jersey has the best offer to make. Brook Lopez fills in for Howard, and I do not doubt he can average 25 ppg in a couple of seasons. Obviously the defensive presence will be missed, but it is not like anyone else can match Howard’s defensive presence. 2 first round picks is very appealing, especially when taking into account that this next draft will probably be the strongest since LeBron was drafted. The Nets can offer more as well. They can also take on Hedo’s contract once they amnesty Travis Outlaw (I have no idea why they would wait on amnestying Outlaw).

    Pau Gasol is interesting, but is on the wrong side of 30 and is likely on the decline. Not a rebuilding piece at all. I do not understand what is so appealing about Bynum. He is consistently inured and has been lucky enough to play in an organization that already has pieces to win championships with (which they have). He also threw a tantrum in the playoffs. Odom is really the only guy I’d be interested in. Bottom line is that if I am Otis Smith I do not hesitate with making a deal. Dwight clearly wants out, and NJ has the offer ready.

  2. eLone says

    It’s pretty straight forward here. The absolute BEST rebuilding package is the LA Clippers. They can take on the same salary that the Nets can, plus give back the Minnesota 1st in the most stacked draft in recent history.

    However, the big problem there is that Dwight is unlikely to play for LAC, given what we’re heard.

    So therefore the best rebuilding option is New Jersey/Brooklyn, and the best part about it for the Magic, is they don’t have to care whether Dwight is willing to go there. The Nets will 100% trade for Dwight without any assurances he sticks around. I don’t know if there’s another team in the NBA that would be willing to take that gamble, except maybe the Mavs.

    If they don’t want to rebuild, and are willing to stay in luxury tax / cap hell, then the Lakers offer the best option. You’ll get players who have won championships with equal salary swap. The Magic will likely be a mediocre team that will be in the bottom of the playoffs, but they should still be in the playoffs. Will be a long road to ever becoming a good team again, but it might keep fans in the seats.

    Overall if I’m a GM, the Clippers and Nets package is by far the best opportunity, and I would make the trade NOW. That way the Magic have a pretty bad season and end up with THREE picks in the 2012 draft to immediately begin the rebuilding process and landing potentially 3 studs to start the new era with.

    But this is Otis. I fully expect him to take back MORE salary in the end.

  3. Beyonder313 says

    Of course New Jersey can put a better package together for Dwight than the Lakers but if Dwight is after a championship than he has to go to the Lakers. Why stay in the East and go against Miami’s Big Three and the potential Big Three the Knicks are most likely to have when you have a chance to play in L.A. with Kobe and Gasol. The Nets even in Brooklyn with Deron Williams aren’t enough to convince Dwight to say no to the Lakers. The Clippers have a nice package they could offer too but they also have Donald Sterling so forget that. The Lakers is where Dwight should go cause he could win now and he knows that after Kobe leaves, the organization would build around him cause they’re the Lakers.

    • says

      it’s not Dwight’s choice. If the Nets don’t care about an extension then they will get him. Unless the Clippers want to take the same risk. Which they don’t.

  4. Xavier says

    If you’re Orlando, you take both Gasol and Bynum. LA just might offer both due to Gasol’s high salary. This presents a better deal than the Nets because Gasol could net a favorable trade if ORL chose to, or they could re-tool around him and Bynum.
    Lopez isn’t that valuable as a trade chip, it would be the draft picks that intrigued me, and who’s to say that trading Gasol couldn’t net draft picks?
    LA can offer the best deal, imo.

  5. mookie says

    Hey Chris I wouldn’t call Odom or Gasol, flotsum and jetson, and yes if I’m orlando I’m asking for Gasol and Bynum, for Howard and Turkeglo’s contract, take it or leave it lakers, the clipshow is right down the hall. Can’t let the lakers run over everyteam in the league, geesh, show some ballz GM’s of small market teams.

  6. Amit says

    D Howard will just do the same as Shaq when he was in Orlando, except through a trade. If Orlando in its wildest dream does not trade superman, the NBA owners on this CBA would have failed.

  7. izzy says

    how about the knicks trading Amare for Dwight… Amare would be the best player that the Magic could get out of any team and he is from Orlando. Knicks would have the defense they need and the magic could build around Amare.

    • says

      That Knicks trade is not happening. Justin, despite his hating, makes a good point that Nets package — with the two draft picks in a strong draft — is better than what the Lakers can put together. If NJ can find a way to make it a sign-and-trade involving Humphries, it becomes all the more attractive. (Justin probably has a beef because I wrote last year about the preponderance of rat traps and cold hallways at the Prudential Center. But at last that article got the rat traps removed, and the Nets installed gargantuan space heaters to warm up the hallways, which made the security guards who were stationed in the hallways quite appreciative.)

      • says

        Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, (Eric Bledsoe, Aminu, Ryan Gomes) Minnesota’s 1st Round Pick. And if the Magic want to give up Gilbert Arenas or Hedo Turkoglu the Clippers can include Mo Williams to make the salaries work. They have the best package, it’s just about whether Dwight would sign with them.

    • Justin says

      Still think the clips go after CP3. Howard and Blake are redundant a bit (though it would be a good problem to have).

      • says

        Blake Griffin is the worst defensive 4 in the league. Dwight would be anything but redundant. Plus, winning the rebounding battle yields a victory for teams like 60% of the time (I don’t know the exact figure). Basically Dwight, with no history of injuries, and a one-man defensive menace is always a better option than a PG. NO matter who it is.

    • Justin says

      I hope he does but it is not looking good. Unless Orlando wants to get Lebroned, they have to make a move here. We will see what comes out of the meeting with Otis today, but 5% chance he stays.

      • Justin says

        Cleveland was one of the top teams in the east the year before and Lebron grew up there. I would agree that Toronto was in worse shape but Cleveland wasn’t swept out of the playoffs the season before.

        Again, I would love to see a team take a stand and retain their superstar, I just don’t think they can afford to wind up with Nothing.

  8. Justin says

    Orlando is screwed. Their best bet is taking Lopez and cap room plus the picks for Diwght and Turk. They won’t do this though because they foolishly believe that can convince Dwight to stay. Ultimately they will swap him for Odom and Bynum and Dwight will get his wish to play for the Lakers. Seems inevitable.

    I know that this is a Knick Fan site so logic is kind of lacking here, but let me explain why the Nets have the best package to offer Orlando, and why they won’t in a week.

    Since the nets are under the cap, they can afford to take on Turk’s contract and send nothing back. Once Orlando gets rid of Him and Amnestys Agent 0:

    1.They will be in a great cap position
    2. They get Brook Lopez (who has never missed a game in the NBA vs. Bynum who is constantly hurt)
    3. Orlando will not be as good this season with what the nets are offering, so their pick will be a much better draft pick in one of the deepest drafts in 10 years. Plus they would have the Nets pick and Houston’s pick .

    To summarize. they can walk away with Odom and Bynum or with Lopez, Cap Flexibility, and Draft Picks. Not a complete no brainier, but if you are rebuilding you go with the nets package over the Lakers.

    Once the Nets sign Nene, Lakers have the clear edge.

    • greengarden74 says

      Justin, the Key is whether they choose to rebuild or choose to still make money in the short term. With Bynum and or Bynum and Gasol….Orlando stays somewhat relevant for a couple of years and keeps their new arena making money into at least the first round of playoffs.

      If i’m an owner, I take my chances with Bynum/Gasol.

      • Justin says

        Then you would be fielding a very mediocre team for a long time. Bynum is very very very overrated, has a terrible attitude, and is always injured. How do you think Odom will act when he is taken out of LA?

        Also, for some reason, and again I understand that this is a knicks fan blog, people underrate Lopez. He is a 23 year old center who puts up 20+ppg and has never missed a game. He was soft rebounding last season but he will pick that up this year. He is a better chip to build around than Bynum.

        • greengarden74 says

          Justin. I’m trying to look at this from an owner’s point of view. They just build a new arena. Mediocrity may get the magic an 8th seed at least for the next 3 years. That’s money in the owner’s pocket just to make it into the playoffs. Within 3 years of being mediocre…there’s still a remote chance they land someone who changes the face of the franchise again.

          I do agree that the Lopez deal makes sense if you’re planning on throwing away playoff earnings and want to rebuild. I just don’t see the Magic owner committing to losing money.

          • Justin says

            Did you see Anthony Davis play this weekend? This college crop is unbelievable. 8th seed will be good enough to bypass a decent pick in one of the best drafts since Lebron, Wade, Melo.

            Better to finish with 30 wins and have a shot at a top 10 pick.

          • Mark says

            What you guys arent talking about is the fact that the lakers could easily just make it a 3 team type of trade. With Bynum, Odom or Gasol. They could easily just trade one of them and get back some really nice pieces or picks to sweeten the deal for Orlando.

          • says

            It will take Gasol & Bynum to get Dwight. And Odom is not going to yield anything young of any real value that Orlando would want. Draft Picks & Cap Space are the most important thing Orlando is looking for. The New Jersey deal is sweeter because it offers a faster track to rebuilding.

        • Dee says

          agreed.. I like Lopez and one thing he has on Howard? HE MAKES FREE THROWS! I wouldn’t be able to sit through bricks at the line in a close game..

        • Martin says

          Also kind of sneaky how Gasol just became a part of the discussion. The Lakers giving up both Bynum and Gasol would be an act of pure insanity. The Lakers have made the finals in three of the four years since acquiring Gasol. He’s intermittently dominant and probably the best #2 option in the league.

          Gasol for Dwight would be the best deal Orlando could get. Bynum + pu-pu-platter for Dwight would be good too, but would have to contend with the Lopez offer, etc. But Bynum AND Gasol would be a gross, laughable overpayment. The Lakers are too savvy and well run an organization to consider it.

        • GoKnicks says

          Lopez doesn’t win though.

          The last two years Lopez has shown potential, but not enough to be considered a franchise guy.

          • GoKnicks says

            Bynum’s been the starting center on championship teams (Basically one of the most important pieces to a team…you don’t win without an above average center).

            Lopez has started on 12 win teams.

            Not trying to dump on him, but he isn’t Bynum.

            Regardless Nets probably still have a great package.

          • says

            Bynum has also never played more than 65 games as a teams starter in a season. The injury risk with him is greater than the risk of not finding someone to put next to Brook Lopez who can rebound and defend. Like Kris Humphries (who can be included in a sign & trade) for example.

      • shinchan2005 says

        I agree that the best scenario, as I see it, for the Magic and for Howard is to reach an agreement with the Lakers. But greengarden74, I bet you that LA is not parting with Bynum-Gasol in the same package for Howard unless Orlando would include Nelson in the trade. But, even with these assets being included in the trade it seems to me as nearly impossible to be done.

        I have no doubts that both parties would make the deal if it would be Odom-Bynum for Howard-XXXX.

        But more impossible would be a trade between GSW and ORL involving Nelson and Ellis. I can not see GSW doing this pathetic deal. I agree with Chauncey that ORL “has the pieces that the Warriors would want in order for them to gift wrap Ellis to the Magic”.

    • Mike says

      You are wasting your breath Justin. Like you said, these people are Knick fan scum, they only wanna hear about the greatness of Fat Melo and the disgusting Garden, the Mecca of toolbags

      • GoKnicks says

        The funny thing about comments like these from Nets fans is that

        1. They lusted over Melo for months last season, but all of a sudden call him “fat” and “overrated” when he spurned them.

        2. Would love to have their team play in the Garden. (Or at least, have an arena not filled with Knicks fans every time they play at home against the Knicks. )

        3. Call Knicks fans toolbags when they are the ones resorting to calling people fat, calling other stadiums disgusting, and (childishly) calling people that don’t agree with them toolbags.

        • Matt says

          1. We “lusted” over Melo because we thought he was the best player available. Then, when we traded for the better player, we got over Melo real quick. Now he’s on the Knicks, so he’s hated. Donnie Walsh would’ve rather had Deron, you have to know that.

          2. The Garden? Why? Because it’s where opposing play their best against the home team? Barclays is going to blow the Garden away. But keep building those arena bridges that’ll spruce the place up…

          3. One might question the intelligence of said fanbase if they truly believe they can sign another max player.

          • the mecca says

            Barclays isn’t going to look too hot when it’s filled with Knicks fans for Knicks/Nets games. BTW, thanks Jay-Z for reminding everyone just how easy it will be to get there from the city. Might have been better off keeping that one to yourself big guy.

          • Steven says

            Knicks fan make the false assumption that players “love” the Garden because it is a great arena. The reasons players like it is because of all of the historic performances that have been played there – all AGAINST the Knicks. Michael Jordan did not love “Duh Mecca” because it’s such a wonderful place – it is because he creamed the Knicks every occasion.

            Stan Van Gundy said it best about the Knicks “We just don’t give a damn.”

          • the mecca says

            Steven thats hilarious. When was the last time a big time player EVER went willingly to the Nets? Seriously Travis Outlaw is the biggest signing in Nets FA history, and it was such an awful pickup they will probably have to amnesty him 80 games into his Nets career. Can’t make this stuff up.

            Before you say players don’t want to play in MSG, remember players go kicking and screaming to the Nets, as Deron Williams basically said in his interview on WFAN today.

    • Vince says

      I was originally going to agree with pursuing Bynum/Odom, but as I was writing my response – it just seemed more clear that Lopez and the Nets are a better fit for the following reasons.

      1) He’s cheaper for the next two years than Bynum.

      2) Although I would rather have Bynum the player, the injury issues are a concern. Lopez isn’t the greatest defender, but at least he’ll stay healthy.

      3) A trade with the Nets would give more cap room than with the Lakers. I also believe that the Nets are also more likely to include draft choices and to take on all of Turkoglu’s salary with sending some back.

  9. Chauncey says

    How does that help Orlando? How does sending Nelson to GS help the Warriors? The whole reason why the Warriors would consider trading Monta is that he and Curry form a small backcourt. How is that solved by adding someone smaller than Monta? Also, from all indications, Curry is the starting point guard, which leaves Nelson as an overpaid backup. I’m not sure Orlando has the pieces that the Warriors would want in order for them to gift wrap Ellis to the Magic.

    I’m very curious to see if this Howard situation has to come to a head within the next two weeks. Part of me feels the Magic front office will hang onto Howard and roll the dice on doing something during the season to make him happy. Then, they’ll evaluate their team following the all-star break (where they need a franchise face for the weekend), and look harder for offers then. Then again, if Howard is actually up front about his intentions (highly unlikely), then this situation could move very quickly.

    • greengarden74 says

      Good points Chauncey. I only brought up the Nelson for Ellis trade cuz Jameer is the only piece Orlando has that is worth anything…other than Howard of course. So where does that leave Orlando?

      Magic’s assets end with Jameer. They have youth with Ryan Anderson and Reddick but those are bargain bin material.

      What extra pieces would the Magic have at the trade deadline to get someone in to appease Howard?

      I think it’s time for the team to move on and soon unless Howard actually says, “I’ll stay with the team as constructed”. This won’t happen.

      But has Howard turned down the 2 year extension? Is there a chance he gives the Magic two more years to fix the talent around him?

      • says

        Part of me thinks there’s something else in the back of his mind. If you remember, the coach who works with him the most is Patrick Ewing. I think there has to be something in the back of Howard’s mind that says, “I don’t want to wind up like Coach…Without a championship despite how hard we fight.” So, unless Orlando can get some pieces now, I don’t see him sticking around.

  10. greengarden74 says

    During the summer, Howard was in Russia to host basketball camps and other promotional related stuff. Russian paper asked him who he’d like to play with. Monta Ellis was one of those players which I found surprising. So I guess it was a message sent indirectly to Otis Smith. Get me Ellis or CP3 or trade me. But then Howard went on to finish his answer and said that DWill and Anthony Morrow are two players he’d like to team up with.

    Since there’ve been no “Trade Rumors” surrounding DWill who happens to be in the same situation as CP3 and Howard, yet there are tons of trade rumors surrounding D12/CP3, there must be a sense throughout the league that DWill is goin nowhere unless the Nets make it impossible for him to stay(Nets being unable to sign any decent talent). The Nets may be a distant second to the Lakers in the Howard chase, but being second is better than not being on his list at all.

    Orlando could do a Jameer Nelson for Monta Ellis trade but how does that help Orlando? I think Howard’s thinking is having a back court of Ellis and Nelson.

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