Is it really that simple of a situation? It seems that most people are convinced - in a gut check - that the chances of Dwight leaving are greater than him staying. “I believe a lot of people already feel as if he’s gone or will be going very soon” (waleo, 2012). There are a lot of posters on OPP who are asking for his trade as of yesterday, if that is feasible. There are some credible analysts and writers who see it as simple as “he would sign an extension in summer or would be traded before the start of the next season”. Some find another round of distraction for 2012-13 unacceptable and unbearable. As is the dominant tradition on OPP, trade suggestions of all kinds, forms and shapes have already overwhelmed any discussion of what are the options/scenarios of retaining Dwight. MagicLA notes “Howard has wanted out because the organization is heading in the wrong direction. He sees what you and I and every fan sees, now its up to the Devos’ family to adjust direction. A course correction will change his outlook” (2012). Is there any chance of retaining Dwight and, however small that chance, would it be worth the pain and agony we all have to go through again?
- It is not as simple as sign an extension or be traded … that is the lazy way out. Legally, any commitment that Magic can get from Dwight, either verbally or written, to sign with the Magic in summer of 2013 as long as it is not in conflict with the new CBA is permissible. A verbal commitment, when disclosed publicly, may also gain the weight of a written agreement. What Dwight receives in return is a promise to improve the roster in a 2-year timeframe or else he would have the choice to ask for a trade to a team of his choice. I am a lawyer but not an expert in unions’ laws, rules and regulation but have checked with a few who are and they affirm this to be true as long as the agreement is disclosed to the league.
- Since Dwight is a “once in a generation player” (MagicLA, 2012), I submit to you that any prolonged process, inclusive of “distractions” attached, is worthwhile. Consider that the alternatives are: a) breaking the team down with uncertain future ahead; or b) trading for unequal assets, and risk getting mired in mediocrity for years to come.
- The school of thought which advocates letting Dwight walk includes some credible writers who argue that getting under the cap and really hitting the bottom for a couple of years allow for: a) greater chance at higher lottery picks; and b) waiting for the right free agent to come around. That is how Orlando built two championship caliber teams, albeit got lucky too. Not enough has been explored under this theme. Should this be pursued with more vigor, chances are that we can take greater risks in the process of retaining Dwight.
In conclusion, I tend to believe that while we have to be realistic about the possibilities of Dwight leaving – hence weighing trade options – we need greater focus on exploring the venues of retaining Dwight, which lags behind on this blog.
Note: all citations are from OPP postings (http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com/2012/5/16/3025489/dwight-howard-nba-trade-rumors-houston-rockets-2012-deadline-orlando-magic#comments)