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NBA AM: Will the Magic Trade Howard?
Posted By Alex Kennedy On March 14, 2012 @ 9:02 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Following the Orlando Magic’s win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, reporters gathered around Dwight Howard’s locker expecting to hear the same quotes that the center has been delivering all year.
Throughout the season, Howard has perfected the art of dodging questions related to trade rumors and steering the conversation back to the evening’s game. Nobody expected him to say something of substance last night. In fact, some reporters didn’t think he’d talk at all, considering he skipped media availability after Tuesday’s shootaround. Then, he sat down at his locker and dropped a bombshell.
“I’ve been telling [the Magic] for the past two or three weeks that I want to stay and finish the season,” Howard said. “I told them I feel we’ve got a great opportunity to win and I told them that I want to be here. I want to bring a championship here and I told them they’ve got to give me that chance.”
“We’ve been talking for a while and I told them I want to finish this season out and give our team and give our fans some hope for the future, but I feel they have to roll that dice,” Howard said. “It might be tough, but I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity. They’ve got to roll it.”
When asked if he would commit to Orlando beyond this season, Howard didn’t hesitate.
“That doesn’t matter,” Howard said. “This moment is what matters. Like I said, we have a great opportunity.”
Some believe that Howard is only saying these things so that the Magic don’t trade him, which would allow him to sign with the New Jersey Nets as a free agent this offseason. That way, the Nets don’t deplete their roster to acquire Howard and still hold onto their attractive assets such as Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and others.
However, there are some within the organization who continue to believe that keeping Howard is still a possibility. Owner Rich DeVos and CEO Alex Martins aren’t ready to trade Howard just yet. They’re holding out hope that a deep postseason run and splashy move this offseason could be enough to persuade him into opt-in to the final year of his deal.
Howard’s comments caught everyone off guard on Tuesday night. Now, this puts the Magic in a difficult position going forward. Do they trade Howard before Thursday’s deadline or do they keep him for the remainder of the season? While the answer may seem obvious to most people, the organization is divided about where to go from here.
Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy are ready to trade Howard. They believe that he’s going to leave eventually and begging him to opt-in for one more season is simply delaying the inevitable. They have grown tired of the ongoing drama and are ready to move on. If it were up to Smith and Van Gundy, Howard would’ve been dealt months ago and the Magic would have already started the rebuilding process.
However, DeVos and Martins believe Howard is a once-in-a-generation talent who shouldn’t be dealt unless there’s absolute certainty that he’s going to leave. After hearing Howard’s comments on Tuesday night, it’s easy to see why they’re hesitant to move the face of their franchise. He’s saying similar things to ownership behind closed doors. Howard is sending mixed signals left and right, wanting to break up one second and flirting with the Magic moments later.
After striking out to acquire a second star to put alongside Howard, the Magic have a choice to make. Do they hold onto Howard and try to make a run with this roster or do they trade Howard to start the rebuilding process?
Orlando’s answer will be revealed in the next 30 hours.
Warriors Excited to Land Bogut: The Golden State Warriors approached the trade deadline hoping to land an elite center. They did just that on Tuesday night, acquiring Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown.
While Bogut is sidelined with an ankle injury, the move gives Golden State a dominant inside presence going forward. Warriors’ general manager Larry Riley was ecstatic to make the deal.
“We’re extremely excited to acquire a player the caliber of Andrew Bogut, who we think is certainly one of the top centers in the NBA,” Riley said. “He will add an element of toughness to our team and will provide us with scoring, rebounding and a defensive presence in the middle. We’ve lacked those elements in recent years and think that Andrew’s addition will be a key factor in the growth of our team.”
The Warriors also welcome back Jackson, who left Golden State following the 2009 season. While sources in Golden State say that the Warriors aren’t planning to buyout Jackson, they are trying to flip him in a second deal. With that said, Jackson’s disastrous stint in Milwaukee coupled with his ugly contract make him almost untradeable unless he’s packaged into a larger deal.
“Stephen Jackson, meanwhile, enjoyed some of his best years in the NBA in the Bay Area and is a veteran who knows how to play on both ends of the floor,” Riley said. “The difficult part of this transaction is having to part ways with several players who we really value and one, in particular, Monta Ellis, who has been instrumental in our organization for the last several years. We wish Monta, Ekpe and Kwame the best of luck in Milwaukee and thank them for their many contributions.”
Trade Talk: Here are some rumors that are floating around with the deadline looming.
• The Utah Jazz are shopping several players as the deadline approaches. Raja Bell, who had a heated argument with Jazz head coach Ty Corbin recently, can be had for the right offer. C.J. Miles is also being shopped, with the New Jersey Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves among the teams expressing interest. Josh Howard may be dealt as well.
• The Los Angeles Lakers continue to express interest in Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Ramon Session. What’s the hold up? The Lakers want to use their $8.9 million traded-player exception to acquire Sessions. However, the Cavaliers have asked for a first-round pick to also be included in the deal. Like many trades around the NBA, the inclusion of a first-round pick is keeping this deal from going down. League sources believe one side will budge in the next day and Sessions will land in Los Angeles.
• The Houston Rockets are shopping Courtney Lee, according to sources close to the situation. Houston has talked to a number of teams that are looking for shooting guards, including the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers. The Rockets are asking for a lot in return for Lee, which may keep a deal from going down. With that said, if Houston’s asking price comes down in the next day and a half, Lee may be dealt.
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