I'm not sure if you heard, but the Orlando Magic scored a big victory--arguably one of the most satisfying in franchise history--on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers and former center Dwight Howard, Orlando's all-time leader in points, rebounds, and blocked shots. The team declared Monday "Spirit Day" to commemorate the win.
In an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, Pat Williams, Orlando's senior vice president, discussed the Howard trade and what Sunday's win meant to Orlando and its fans.
"Oh boy, Orlando Magic fans were dancing in the street last night," Williams said during Monday's interview, according to Sports Radio Interviews. "That was a beautiful win for us."
One criticism some commentators directed at the Magic following the Howard trade--in which they received a package built around Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vučević, Maurice Harkless, and multiple draft picks--is that they didn't receive enough in return for the six-time All-Star. Williams says that criticism is misguided. "We made the best deal we could with these other pieces that came from around the league," he said.
Williams explained that though Andrew Bynum and Brook Lopez, whom Orlando reportedly could have received in return for Howard, are talented, young centers, the Magic had concern about their respective injury histories. "I just want to say that one of the fears with him was the tendency, as he got hurt, that he’s got a history with feet and ankle problems," Williams said in reference to Lopez. Bynum, who went to the Philadelphia 76ers in the trade, has yet to suit up for Philly due to knee injuries and is out indefinitely. "Well, I don’t think we’d be real happy with Andrew Bynum right now," Williams said. "If he were sitting here it would be a mess."
Lopez doesn't have an injury history quite like Bynum: the Stanford product played all 246 games in the first three seasons of his career, only to miss 61 games in the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season. He's now averaging 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks on 53.4 percent shooting.