Words by Phlip
If I were an Orlando Magic fan, I would be looking for reasons to cheer for whatever team I fancied before the 7/27/1986 announcement that Orlando, Charlotte (the original Hornets), Miami and Minnesota were all getting expansion teams in for 1989.
There is but one person to blame for the impending downfall of the organization, and that would be Dwight David Howard himself.
Last season, he apparently stated his displeasure with one of the best coaches the organization has employed, then lied about it when confronted. Then as he was on the mend after back surgery, the organization granted his wish in firing that coach. All of this was to appease him, hopefully keeping him on the team. He, in true turncoat fashion (and WAAAY worse than what LeBron did), walked back his commitment to one more year and started reviewing his legal means to get around a signed commitment to not opt out of his contract this summer. When he was left with no leg to stand on, his “trade me” demands sparked right back up.
With hand-picked destinations in Brooklyn and LA remaining in the conversation and Dallas no longer in the running after their inability to score hometown product Deron Williams, other teams – namely Houston – began putting together the pieces to surround and/or trade for him, but eventually (well, seemingly at current) stood down when it came public that he would not sign an extension there. For someone who doesn’t want to play for the team he just 4 months ago claimed he was “too loyal” to, he SURELY is becoming a bit of a hopeless flip-flopper for it now and is making it so no one should want his services.
And now to what this matters to the Orlando Magic’s season…
Ryan Anderson is gone to New Orleans, which removes a floor-spreading shooter from the offense.
Hedo Turkoglu is up in age and mileage, is not near as consistent as he once was and while he may have at one point in a past life been a legitimate 2-position player, he is saddled with an utterly untradeable contract that teams have declined a deal including Dwight Howard in exchange for. The best remaining players are Glen “Big Baby” Davis and JJ Redick, neither of whom is properly equipped to play the position they need to play.
Dwight Howard has created a team that he does not want to be involved with, and because of that no one wants to come there. At the same time, his behaviors have made it HARD for anyone else to want him (the Lakers are reportedly close to renewing Bynum as I type this). This has created a situation where he is the “ain’t sh*t wife” we see on TV and the Orlando Magic are the hamstrung husband who KNOWS that getting rid of her will cost him an arm and a testicle in Alimony and Child Support for a long time. In this case, “Alimony and Child Support” are the purgatory that they would be mired in immediately upon his departure and lasting 3-5 seasons until they have another draft comeup like they did with Howard himself. The Magic are more than familiar with how this works, they assuredly recall Shaquille leaving as a free agent for the Lakers. The only difference is that this time, they are not the ones at fault, as if they’d have known then what they knew when Shaq left, then they would have paid him whatever his agent relayed to them as his requirements. This time, however, they’re painted into a corner where NO ONE will win unless they retain Dwight Howard AND win a championship immediately.
Unfortunately, with Dwight Howard’s situation conspiring to kidnap their WHOLE summer keeping them from being able to make any moves until his move is made, neither of the aforementioned will take place.
I can’t even apologize for the doom-and-gloom outlook for the Orlando Magic for the next several years resulting from this situation, even if I cannot blame the organization this time. This is a case where the truth just is.
As a North Carolina resident, though, I am more than pleased to see JJ Redick to be there while they attempt rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.