The scene in Orlando is increasingly ugly. The Magic keep finding new ways to lose. Dwight Howard calls out his teammates for their lack of effort. The GM claims Howard threw Jameer Nelson "under the bus" by comparing him unfavorably with other point guards. Fans boo the team off the court at the Amway Center after the latest loss. Howard even made a cryptic remark about the Bulls. A columnist writes the All-Star Game could look like "an extravagant dinner party hosted by a glamorous couple everyone knows is getting divorced. Kinda awkward isn't it?"
Chris Broussard was asked mid-week about the Magic's intentions. He told Mike Tam of ESPN Radio that, as of then, he expects Orlando to keep Howard through the season. He also repeats his (well-sourced) theory that if Howard doesn't come to the Nets, Deron Williams will ask out (something Billy King said last week was "wrong"). But Broussard also talks about how both want to play in Brooklyn, that it's a "promising situation" for them because of what they can do together on the court and "business opportunities"off the court.
He talks as well about the lure of the Knicks and how Howard as well as Williams would be interested in the Garden.
- NBA Today: 1/25 (Audio) - Mike Tam - ESPN Radio
- No need to wait on Dwight Howard trade if deal’s there - Brian Schmitz - Orlando Sentinel
Howard on long-shot trade to Chicago Bulls: 'If God wanted that to happen, it will happen' - Vaughn McClure - Chicago Tribune
Well, that's the million dollar question. He still has not rescinded his trade request to the New Jersey Nets, which he issued before the season began. but Dwight historically in Orlando, at least the last several months, has been wishy washy about his future so the Magic really believe that they have a shot at keeping him.
Remember they can pay him more money than any other team and they're not sure that he will walk away from that money at the end of the day, so right now, they're really not pursuing trades, they're certainly going to keep him for the next several weeks.
The real question will be will they trade him as the March 15 deadline gets closer and right now, the feeling is
they won't, that they may very well just keep him throughout the remainder of the season and they feel good about their team. they'll see how far they can go in the playoffs. they feel like they're a championship contender right there with the rest of the top clubs in the league and they may go that route and try to convince Dwight through the remainder of the season, not just through March 15 to stay with them long-term.
How realistic is Orlando's strategy of waiting Howard out?
Look, Dwight is wishy-washy. I think he hasn't rescinded his trade request so... His first choice is to go to New Jersey, i.e., Brooklyn, next season they'll be in Brooklyn, to play with Deron Williams. A lot of great business opportunities in New York. He'd be going to a franchise that is starting all over in the biggest city in the world, so that appeals to him.
But at the same time, if Orlando were to somehow get to the Finals or win the Finals, I think that's a long shot...they feel that maybe Dwight would stay. So it's a game of chicken right now and it's a big risk if indeed they go that route because remember the last thing they want to do is lose Dwight for nothing, like they did for Shaquille O'Neal in the mid-90's, AND there's not the incentive in the new collective bargaining agreement for players to do sign-and-trade deals like they're used to be. You can't get the extra year in a sign-and-trade deal like you used to.
What's the incentive here? The Magic roster is better than the Nets roster.
If you get traded to the Nets, then he could sign an extension...they would get his Larry Bird Rights...and then he could make money with them, or more money with them. Look, if you take Dwight off Orlando's roster, they don't have a player who's an equivalent of Deron Williams. And it remains to be see how good J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, and those guys would be without a Dwight Howard.
You put Dwight in Jersey, there are some reservations he has about that roster because, you know, he is looking at that roster and thinking 'If I go there even with Deron, we may only be as good as we are in Orlando right now.' But there's a chance that Anthony Morrow, who's close with Dwight would play better with Dwight as a shooter off of Dwight Howard. You got Kris Humphries there. If he was to go there as a free agent, they'd still have Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks is a young hot rookie who a lot of people are impressed with. So, you put Dwight Howard in the middle of that with a superstar point guard like Deron Williams and it's certainly a promising situation.
You had a conversation with Deron Williams. What he tell you about all of this?
Well i didn't actually speak with Deron, I spoke with sources (laughs) but they're trustworthy sources. Deron wants to stay in Jersey. I mentioned the business opportunities with Dwight and that's what Deron is looking at as well.
And Deron has recruited Dwight. During the lockout, remember, you could talk all you wanted, recruit all you wanted and he certainly used the opportunity to do that and he's told Dwight about those business opportunities. Deron enjoys the notion of being the face of the franchise. Obviously, it would be along with Dwight as if they were going to go to Brooklyn as a tandem. And he has come to love, as has his family, living in New York City. So all of that being the case, Deron's first choice is to stay in Jersey, develop a close relationship with Avery Johnson, with Billy King, the general manager there.
But look he wants to win. He's as competitive as anybody in the NBA and if they don't get Dwight Howard, then he's got to look elsewhere where he can win. And Dallas --he's a native of Dallas-- they're going to have enough cap room to sign a maximum player and actually, they're trying to clear enough cap room to offer two near-max deals...maybe not quite the maximum but near-max...and their grand plan would be to get Dwight and Deron to go there and join Dirk Nowitzki. But Deron has always had a soft spot in his heart for playing at home, which would be in Dallas. So Dallas is one of the teams that would be on his list if he leaves New Jersey. The Knicks another team because as I said he loves New York. He loves the opportunties that are there and obviously that's a team tjat if they traded Amare Stoudemire for him, you'd be there with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. If they traded Anthony, you'd be there with Amare and Chandler. So you could go there. They need a point guard. So he would be open to that. And then the Lakers. The Lakers would be tough for him to get there but some of that would be tied to them getting Dwight as well, but Deron knows they need a point guard as well. Obviously, everybody loves L.A.
So it's interesting before the season, his list outside of the Nets was Dallas, New York and the Clippers. I'm sorry, Dallas and the Clippers. He wasn't think as much about the Knicks. So he would certainly stay there to be in New York.
Are the Knicks in the running at all?
They're in the running in that Dwight would sign there. He would be open to playing in New York. There are only a handful of teams that he would be open to long term playing with...and the Nets, the Mavericks, the Lakers, the Clippers and the Knicks are really the only teams on that list. But the Magic are not strongly interested in Amare Stoudemire because even though Amare is from that area and he is a star player, he's 29 years old. His knees have been through many surgeries to the point where they can't even get them insured. And let's face it, he's not having a strong season. So some people, the Magic, are concerned with the long-term history. Look, including this year, he has four years, 83 million left. So they, they really want a lot more than Amare Stoudemire if they wind up having to trade Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard to the Clippers?
It makes sense to me. It's sort of a figment of my imagination.