Dec 10, 2011, 8:53 PM EDT
Let’s play a little thought exercise.
Magic GM Otis Smith walks into a room. He stands at a podium and answers questions regarding the state of the team. He opens by informing the media that Dwight Howard has requested a trade, twice, today, in the last year year of his contract. His team is facing the edge of disaster, trading away a superstar which never nets equal return and which guarantees that the team will not be competing for a title this year or any other in the near future. He is now faced with the unenviable task of trying to determine who to trade Howard for and more importantly for what, trying to direct the franchise forward through a difficult rebuilding period.
He will be diligent. He will still try to win as long as Howard is here, but will also do what is “best for the franchise at all times.”
Following that, does the GM:
A. Quietly finish out the humiliating session and then try and construct a complicated three-to-four team trade that brings picks and young players to Orlando while ditching salary.
B. Make one last swing for a star to go along with the star, leveraging the future but trying to get the kind of star player that can keep Howard in town.
C. Give Jason Richardson, a soon-to-be-32-year-old shooting guard a four-year, $24 million deal.
Obviously Smith gave Richardson the four-year deal, via Yahoo! Sports.
It’s a terrible idea. Richardson was probably going to get something similar to that deal on the open market, but that says more about the market than Richardson. He’s a good defender. He can hit from the outside.
But he’ll be making more than $8 million when he’s 36 and the Magic are trying to move him for anything they can. He’ll be a chain around their neck. It’s the kind of deal that got the Magic into this situation. Maybe Smith is in shock. Maybe he doesn’t understand what’s standing before him. Maybe he just really thinks Richardson can still put in big numbers. But the reality is that Orlando is watching the Titanic sink, and now they just had a new dining table airlifted in.
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