It’s going to be hard to forget the free agent melee of 2010, but is it already time to do it again?
Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard will be a free agent next year. Certainly he’s not as big of a name as LeBron James, but lots of teams are already thinking of how they would build their team around him and what they would offer to get him. Sound familiar? Is it time for another “decision”? Howard is certainly one of the best in the game, someone you build a franchise on and he has enough years left in him to think long term.
So should Dwight go the way of LeBron and leave the Orlando Magic, the team that he’s given his entire career to?
There is something to be said for loyalty to a team and a city, but a player’s ultimate goal should be to win. If your team can’t put the pieces around you to make a solid run at a championship and you can find another team that will, don’t miss that opportunity.
The Magic tried this year. They got some solid veterans around Howard, and late in the season looked like a team that could make a solid run in the Eastern Conference. But when all was said and done, they were a first round exit at the hands of an Atlanta Hawks team that honestly wasn’t that impressive.
Now all the veterans are a year older and even if they do play this season they won’t be able to improve enough to make a run through a conference that keeps getting better.
My advice to the Magic: you’re going to lose him, might as well get something for it. I’m not saying the Cavs were stupid for hanging on to LeBron, hoping that he would stay with them. There was a legitimate chance that he was going to. I don’t think the Magic have that chance. LeBron has set a precedent. If you don’t think your team can win it all, you find one that can. So rather than wait for that, the Magic should start rebuilding now. Trade Howard for some solid pieces that you can build around and compete down the road.
Whether it’s this year or next, I think we’ll see Howard in a new uniform, but where? We’re in the “superteam” era, so it would only make sense for him to head to a team with a few all-stars already. I don’t even pretend to understand cap space and all the financial aspects of an NBA franchise but I think Howard would be a great fit with ‘Melo and Amar’e in New York. That’s an even better “Big 3” than Miami and I’d love to see those teams go at it. The Eastern Conference Finals would look almost like an all-star game. Of course there is the Los Angeles Lakers who might the the one team who will end up with Howard.
One thing’s for sure though. Until Howard’s traded or signed by a new team, we’ll hear lots of rumors and speculation about his final destination. We’re not talking a repeat of 2010, but we’ll definitely have a few recurring themes. After all, the media loves to blow things out of proportion.