Blog Entry

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 1:53 am

By Matt Moore

There is a fairly established path to rebuilding. When a team is forced to start over, the way back to contention is to trade the biggest star along with a salary dump for as many young players and draft picks as possible. Then you rebuild through the draft using the picks you acquired and your own picks, which are high on account of you being terrible. This is a fairly proven formula, with the Blazers having had success before injuries wrecked them, and the Thunder currently a Finals contender with that model.

Which is why today's report from should be concerning for Magic's fans and is confusing for the rest of us. From ESPN:
Sources familiar with Orlando's thinking say that a picture of what the Magic will ultimately expect in return for their anchor has indeed begun to emerge, telling this week that Orlando would not hold out for youth and draft picks as the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were ordered to do in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The Magic, sources say, would instead prefer to bring back multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive.

Reason being: Orlando has moved into a new arena last season and has a 85-year-old owner in Rich De Vos. Sources say De Vos has little interest in starting over/rebuilding, as evidenced by the recent decisions to trade for Glen "Big Baby" Davis and re-sign Jason Richardson even though Howard's future is so murky.
via What will Magic want for Dwight? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN. So the Magic are looking at that well-established path back to contention... and wanting to do the exact opposite. The problem is that the Magic would not and cannot get anything back that is comparable to Howard, so they'd be looking at either an aging star, or someone overpaid. Which means problems for the Magic in a few years when those contracts get larger and the talent isn't there. It seems like a cash grab for tickets in order to make casual fans go to games instead of really building towards a championship which perennial season ticket holders and long-term fans would want.

There are several repercussions if this report is accurate.

1. It puts the Lakers squarely in the lead for Howard. If you want established All-Star-level players, the Lakers have them. A package of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, which the Lakers insist they will not send for Howard, would fit this bill exactly. Even if they won't trade those two for Howard directly, the best scenario might be to bring Houston back into talks similar to what they were working on in the vetoed Chris Paul trade. That could net the Lakers a suitable replacement for Gasol in terms of firepower, provide Orlando with an All-Star power forward (Gasol) and the Rockets a franchise center of the future. Either way, if it's stars the Magic wants, the Lakers have them.

2. It severely damages the Nets' approach. Already missing their best trade chip in Brook Lopez due to a broken bone in the foot, the Nets have reportedly been dangling as many as five first-round picks for Howard. If the Magic want legitimate players, the Nets don't have any outside of Deron Williams. Their next best chip, Kris Humphries, cannot be traded until March due to his contract. If the Magic are serious about continuing to contend for the playoffs, the Nets can kiss their chances at Howard goodbye. In related news, the Nets were wiped off the map by the Hawks last night.

3. Speaking of the Hawks, ESPN says the Hawks have made offers regarding a possible trade of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith for Howard. This would be a genius move by Atlanta, even if Howard doesn't re-commit to signing there. You make one playoff run, clear Joe Johnson's cap-killing contract, and if Howard decides to leave, you've got cap space to rebuild with behind Jeff Teague and Al Horford. The immediate question mark is if the Magic would be willing to take on Joe Johnson's contract. Remember, if the Hawks want All-Stars, they have to take on big contracts, and Johnson's a multiple-time All-Star, even if his notoriety isn't on part with that accomplishment. Also keep in mind that Otis Smith traded for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu last season. Big bad contracts do not scare the man. Still, the Haws are clearly on the outside of this race.

The Magic should be following the same pattern New Orleans did with the trade it actually pulled off. There's a reason the league vetoed the Chris Paul trade offer form the Lakers, and it wasn't because they all of a sudden hate their most popular team. It's because adding big contracts for lesser stars only compounds your situation and sticks you in NBA purgatory: late playoff seeds leading to first-round exits and no traction. That hurts every facet, competitiveness, ticket sales, enthusiasm, morale eventually. But if this is what the Magic want, they're in a position to wait until the trade deadline to get as much as they can. They don't want to start over, they just want to stay in the conversation.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 12:54 am

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

As a side note, Dwight should leave the magic asap, because their GM has failed for 6 years to build a solid nucleaus around him and will continue to fail the same way going forward. You can't start over again after another 6 years Dwight, this time it has to be right.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: December 30, 2011 12:50 am

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

"This is a fairly proven formula... So the Magic are looking at that well-established path back to contention... and wanting to do the exact opposite."
Is it though? is that really how you win an NBA title?

I'd say no. The proven formula is to acquire players via trade, free agency and the draft. The only team that ever "blew it all up" and then went on to win a title with a core acquired from the draft was San Antonio.

Every other title team in the last 2 decades was built through trades and free agency,  with 1 homegrown star thrown in there.
Dallas, Miami, LA, Boston, all fit this model, while Detroit seemed to have zero real homegrown talent.

The fact is that to win you need to acquire championship talent. Tanking and drafting is not a sure way to get it. The Clippers went through 3 rounds of acquiring young talent in that same decade and never made the playoffs. Milwalkee seems to have been doing it since 2002, Charlotte has nothing to show, Atlanta did it and drafted poorly so they're a perpetual 5th seed, and lastly Portland FAILED at it, they drafted the wrong guy and now look where they are. But I know why they were used as an example of a team succeeding that way... There were no others. 

Instead of spending a decade failing at rebuilding like the Celtics did from 94-2006 they should try to grab some proven young NBA talent, build a team and lure some stars to Orlando. 

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: December 29, 2011 4:11 pm

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

Chicago always had the best pieces to trade.  The problem is there still is no indication the Howard is willing to sign an extension in Chicago.  No team will ship off it's starters unless the extension is part of the deal.  Then the problem with those three starters is they make too much money.  Those three players make over 40 million a year.  Maybe two starters and a couple draft picks or backup players would work. 

Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: December 29, 2011 3:46 pm

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

Play this senerio out. Miami is top dog in the east right now and everyone knows it. The only thing they lack is a dominate center. Heat won't trade their core so forget that thought even.
But Chicago who is second dog right now might have a chance for this trade. Howard and Hedo T. for J.Noah, L. Dang and C. Boozer. Everyone wins, Chicago gets the piece it needs for Rose and a shot at Miami. Orlando gets 3 quality players to work with and Noah is a local favorite from his days as a gator, and his work horse effort to keep fan interest. Throw in Reddick if you need to as Chicago wanted him last year anyway.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:50 am

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

If magic don't trade him then they get nothing after this year. He will be free agent and leave. Teams have to trade the star if he isn't going to come back and leave as free agent. Cavs if they had traded Lebron would have a lot better team. Orlando has a young great center. The second best young center is Bynum. To trade for him is only trade that makes sense if Howard is going to leave. Go get Bynum and anything else they can from Lakers. No other trade make more sense. Bynum is good and could be great if made focus of an offense.

Since: Dec 28, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:39 am

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

I don't understand why the Magic are so eager to trade Howard. If their so worried about ticket sales then the last thing they should do is trade him. I feel they made a mistake when they got rid of Lewis and Crater (granted he's old) last season

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:49 am

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

Come on Matt, either edit your work or get someone to do it for you.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: December 28, 2011 8:07 pm

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

Who's running the Magic?  Isiah Thomas?

Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: December 28, 2011 7:41 pm

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

As much as I would hate to see Howard a Laker, but if this report is true and the Magic want veterans than I think Gasol and Bynum are their best move and they will also be able to dump Hedo Turkoglu's contract in the process. Also trading to Atlanta would be terrible because of having to play against him in their own divison not to mention taking on Joe Johnson's albtross of a contract. If I were running the Magic I would trade him to the Nets for the picks which should be good ones since they suck so bad, also if I was going to trade for veterans I would probably try to trade him to the Bulls, but for whatever reason he doesn't want to go there. If he went to Chicago would be a scary good team. But it looks like he will be a Lakers soon and will for sure resign there for a max contract. The sad thing for Orlando fans is that this will be the second time their super star center leaves them for LA, but at least this time they will get some good pieces in return. Shaq going to LA worked out really well for the Lakers and I imagine this trade will work out for them too.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 28, 2011 6:35 pm

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard

It must be hard for a Magic fan to hear that the Magic will not rebuild because the owner is age 85. That clearly is a slap to the face. The only way the Magic can go forward is to start over. There are few teams out there with the pieces to meet the Magic's desire for veteran stars. Oklahoma City is one with serious issues coming over resigning Westbrook, Ibaka, Perkins and Harden, all looking for high or max contracts. Howard will probably not consent to extension there so even if OKC wanted this it is not likely. Likewise Chicago with Boozer, Noah and Deng have assets. But again Howard apparently does not want Chicago. LA Clippers still have assets but no way are they parting with Griffin to get Howard. LA Lakers do not have ideal assets. Gasol last year and this year is a shell of his former efficiency. Bynum is happy Greg Oden is in Portland or the league would be staring at his average of 49 games a season and considering him the bust. And Kobe is in his last few years and cannot play now as he has dominated in the past. So is Howard better off in LA? Portland also has the assets but would not trade LaMarcus and Wallace or Batum for Howard, nor would Howard want the small market. End conclusion? It is young assets and draft picks or nothing, despite the owner's age. He can always sell.

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