fantasy (n.) - imagination unrestricted by reality.
Two weeks ago, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade made headlines when he told Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse that he would prefer to play with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard if he had his choice of any superstar teammate. Not LeBron James, not Chris Bosh, but Howard.
His comments have kept Magic fans up at night, dreaming of trade packages Orlando could send Miami this summer, when Wade becomes a free-agent. Would the Heat accept Vince Carter's expiring contract, Marcin Gortat, and a combination of future draft picks? What about Brandon Bass instead of Gortat?
Problem is, Wade's comments don't actually mean anything. I found this recent Tweet by Ric Bucher instructive:
Snarky Snap take: Enough w/the "Player X says he'd like to play w/Player Y" stories. It's only news if X says he wouldn't want to play w/Y.
I hate to get all preachy, but Magic fans really don't need to worry about Wade's free-agency plans. Putting aside the fact that Heat GM Pat Riley would never trade the best player in franchise history to an in-state rival--from which Riley demanded compensation to let Stan Van Gundy out of his contract as a consultant so he could sign on to coach the Magic--there are far more important things happening on the court right now. Orlando has tied the best start in its history with a 17-4 record. There's nothing wrong with looking ahead to the summer of 2010, as the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and the Heat have done for several years by shedding salary and by signing players to short-term deals in order to clear salary-cap sapce. But for an elite team like Orlando, the foremost goal next summer is to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.