Jun 30, 2010, 11:59 AM EDT
Dwight Howard wants to win. He got a taste of it, he got to the doorstep of a title two years ago. Last year, there was Boston. The retooled — good bye Hedo, hello Vince — Magic could not match up. Jameer Nelson was back and the Magic did not get as far.
Top of the list: Chris Paul.
Which is a scary combo — the best point guard and the best center walking the planet (well, unless Yao Ming is healthy) teamed up. Thunder and lightning. Paul coming off the pick then lobbing an ally-oop to Dwight Howard is an intimidating thought. The Magic would instantly be serious title contenders. Which they already are, but they become a more dynamic version.
New Orleans, however, does not want to trade Paul. Incoming owner Gary Chouest knows he is the franchise cornerstone — the best player, the guy in front on the marketing campaign, the guy who people pay to see play. He wants to build around Paul and float the other bad contracts around him out in the Gulf with all that oil.
Basically, Paul is not getting traded. Now now anyway — but if you’re Jameer Nelson right now, how do you feel? One season after an All-Star appearance, the leader of the franchise is throwing you under the bus. He wants an upgrade. Nelson had a good but not great season coming back from injuries, seemed to improve as the year went on then struggled against Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. For Dwight, apparently it is time for Nelson to go.
Pretty cold. Which is just how the Magic’s locker room may feel next year.