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Did Orlando blow Dwight Howard trade? Too early to tell.

Aug 10, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Rob Hennigan Getty Images

With the Lakers, we’re going to know very quickly how this blockbuster four-team Dwight Howard trade worked — they are in win-now mode and with Dwight Howard it is possible for them.

With the Sixers, we’ll know in a few years — Andrew Bynum gives them a true center (on several levels) for their young core, a group that could grow together into something special.

With the Magic it is going to take even longer to judge this trade properly — it is far too early to judge this trade for them. We can’t until we see who they draft.

A lot of people are ripping the Magic today, but to me that is short sighted. If your reaction is “they would have been better with Brook Lopez and the Nets deal” I would counter that nobody is better with Brook Lopez on a max deal. The Nets can absorb that (and the Kris Humphries deal, another guy rumored for Orlando) in a way the Magic cannot. The Nets picks would be no better than the ones they’re getting. Yes, there also were scenarios where Orlando could get Andrew Bynum in three team deals, but those were never that solid and there are questions about whether Orlando kept Bynum past this season when he became a free agent (and Dallas would be out there with cap space).

What the Magic wanted to do in this deal was get young players, a lot of picks, future cap space and rebuild from the ground up. That’s not sexy and easy to sell, but it’s the smart thing to do. Brook Lopez you can sell a little but he kills a rebuilding effort — he’s a huge contract for a nice center. And they would have had to take on Kris Humphries as well, another bloated contract. This deal gets them to their goal of picks and a lot of future cap space.

If you want to argue they could have done better at the trade deadline last year rather than hold on to Howard… maybe. Houston had a good package at the deadline and this summer (more cap space and maybe better picks), but not one dramatically better.  In the case of the Nets offer Orlando would have had flexibility with Lopez then (the Houston deal at the deadline might have worked well). But at the time they wanted to try and win Howard over still.

In retrospect that was their mistake — not pulling the trigger back then.

To judge how the deal they did do works out for Orlando, we are going to have to see what they do with the draft picks and how they pan out.

And I don’t mean the picks they get from the other teams in this trade — those will be second half of the draft picks, not that thrilling.

No, the real key is what they do with their own draft picks. Because the Magic just became a bad team on the court. Their own picks are going to be high lottery ones for the next few years — they have Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington (who will be bought out after this season) and not much else (and you can get those guys from them if you offer more picks and young players).

A lot of teams around the NBA have talked about building in the Oklahoma City model, but Rob Hennigan (a former Thunder assistant GM) has them better placed to do it than anyone. Now, the Thunder had and nailed a top four pick for three consecutive years — we’re not sure the picks will be that high for Orlando. We don’t know if they will draft another Kevin Durant (or Dwight Howard), a true franchise anchor.

They might. They might not. But we can’t judge this trade for nearly five years for Orlando to see what they do with those picks. They have wiped the slate clean to rebuild. It sucks to be a Magic fan today. You just traded away a true franchise center. You can see a rocky road the next few years.

But we don’t know yet what is a few years down the road for this team. We have to wait and see. We can’t judge this trade from their perspective yet.

  1. raidmagic - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    As a Magic fan I’m

    • saint1997 - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      don’t leaving me hanging man what are you!

  2. raidmagic - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Glad it’s over

  3. terraj35 - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    We dont know how it will turn out? Lets be real. The big market will benefit and the small market will suffer. Thats the NBA motto

    • wlubake - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      OKC and San Antonio say “what?”

      Smart GMs and ownership will always win out. That’s the problem. The Lakers are not only big, but smart. Miami and Pat Riley were smart. Dallas is smart. But so are OKC and San Antonio.

      The Knicks, Nets and Houston are big markets, and they don’t have much to show for it.

      In the end, being in a big market or having a owner willing to spend will help, but it takes a smart front office to utilize those assets. Orlando can position itself for the future and build a winner, and having a small market won’t matter.

      Had Orlando avoided contracts like Lewis, Richardson, Arenas and Davis, they could have built a better team around Howard. With a perennial contender, Howard doesn’t demand a trade.

    • hystoracle - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      Doesn’t look like the New CBA changed anything does it.

    • abasketballthing - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      Unless you’re the Thunder or Spurs, and manage to build a top 5 team in a small market. Or the Pacers, fielding an equal or better team than both NY teams. Or Miami, having a Big Three while being a mid-market team in an attractive city. Or the Warriors, sucking in a top 10 market. Or…

    • deadeyedesign23 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      If small markets don’t like it they shouldn’t be investing in podunk towns. You can’t keep your star player and no one wants to sign in Orlando? Well that’s probably because there shouldn’t be a team in Orlando.

  4. 24thesho - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Howard is just not “that” good to have been putting people through all of these changes these past months.

  5. ebrownwareagle - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    TEC-9 and a Ski mask! Magics just got robbed.

  6. fiyeaglesfiy - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    My initial reaction to this trade was “what were the Magic thinking?” I thought after months of negotiating and bad press, this is all they came out with. If you compare this trade to the recent Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul trades than no, Orlando did not get good value for Dwight Howard. But that kind of deal wasn’t available. There were no teams with those kinds of assets willing to trade for Dwight (probably because Dwight shrunk the market with his “list”). But considering the options available for the Magic, this was a good trade for them. They wanted to get young players, cap space, draft picks and – what they would never say out loud – to become bad in the short-term to get their own draft pick lower. They achieved all 4. Afflalo is a solid young player, Vucevic and Harkless are both cheap prospects with growth potential. Harrington should essentially be considered an expiring contract as he is eligible for a buy-out following this year. All of these can be considered assets in future trades. They also received 3 1st round picks, yes they’ll likely all be in the 20s but they can be packaged and it’s not as if the nets picks would’ve been any better. They shed cap, this year with Howard, and future years with Richardson (and I’m hearing Duhon might have been a throw in to the Lakers). And most importantly, they will be bad and will likely earn a top 5 pick in the next few drafts. They can then follow the OKC model. It will take patience but long term this is what was best for this team and now they can put this chapter to rest and move forward.

  7. mungman69 - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Glad that Howard and his circus are gone.

  8. magicbucs - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    As a magic fan I’m happy he’s gone. Let it be the lakers problem now..
    There is no way the magic would get any all star/anchor players in return without getting their big contracts too and that’s not what henni wanted to do. Rebuild and I’m ok with that. IT DOESNT SUCK TO BE A MAGIC FAN KURT… It must suck to be you though…

  9. UCFpirate - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Can we all agree that letting Howard walk at the end of 2012-13 season would have been the worst case scenario for the Magic? This deal is nothing like the Shaq signing. Lakers actually had to give up something and are taking a big risk. Only time will tell what will happen but as a Magic fan I’m glad Howard is taking his crybaby attitude somewhere else.

    P.S. Lebron and company are still winning the title no matter what the Lakers do.

  10. tannethrill - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    So this is what they’ve been waiting for?


    This seems like the biggest sequence of mistakes I’ve seen in a while. Real winners are the Nugs and Sixers.

    Got a feeling the Lakers may have just gone too far with personalities on the court.

    Dwight is not going to be easy to manage if this isn’t what he wants. Throw in Artest being an influence, Kobe being Kobe and Gasol struggling for touches and I see a problem. That’s without even considering Nash is a clown too who will be struggling with Kobe as to who has the ball in their hands.

    Reminds me too much of the Payton, Kobe, Malone and O’Neal team from back in the day. Just as many dominant personalities but now with jokers too.

    Ron Artest will prove to be the piece left that either influences Dwight negatively or rubs Nash the wrong way. Kobe will be left to smooth it out and will end up creating a divide one way or another. Gasol will never touch the level he once played at with this much fluff going on around him.

    My guess is the Lakers know this and are no where near done shaking up the roster.

    Best guess is they see this too and Artest and Gasol will be moved for cap space and youth.

    If they can create a balance among their stars this could work and if they can lean on Dwight then they could conceivably extend the careers of Kobe and Nash.

    Someone get Phil on the phone, this dude Brown is another issue is this equation.

  11. Phil Young - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    I didn’t know Matthew Fox was the new Magic GM…

  12. udtfrogmanvet - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    That brand spanking new Amway with nothing to see…what a shame…it’ll be nice to see how DH reacts not being the top dog of the city. Hope he gets what he deserves, misery!

    • hystoracle - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      The ECHL Solar Bears don’t excite you?

  13. merchie89 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    And more crap spewing from mouths of PBT writers….this deal was crap and will be crap.

    Protected lottery picks…..and a backup SG. great deal not really

    • merchie89 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      ohh I forgot that Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant players are in the draft every year. So 4 years to get to 4 lottery picks. Remember the lottery means nothing according to order stupid trade, stupid trade

  14. nyyankeedave - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    No Bynum. No Gasol. 3 useless, late round draft picks from 3 playoff teams – yeah, I’d say the Magic blew the big one. For the L.A. Lakers, the Orlando Magic – not Disneyworld, has truly become the happiest place on earth to visit – first Shaq, now Dwight. Fantastic.

  15. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I asked on another thread, but I’ll ask again here as well…how in the world did the Lakers get Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum…basically straight-up??? That’s just insane.

    • wlubake - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      That’s actually as close to equal value as I can imagine. Get the best center in the league for the 2nd best center in the league, who is younger and still improving.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Uh…I don’t agree at all. When you say it like that, it sounds good. But there’s a major chasm between Howard and Bynum. Howard is an all-time great Center today. He’s one of the top 5 players in the league. Bynum may be in the top 20, with the chance to improve, but he isn’t in the class of Howard yet. Not even close. One year does not a career make. Howard(18/13) gets 5 more rebounds a game than Bynum(12/8) for his career. 5 more rebounds. That’s a ton.

      • sdlakerfan - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        2nd best center? If so, therea ‘s a wide gap. DH abused Bynum consistently in the matchups I watched. Don’t recall Bynum being able to stay out of foul trouble. Bynum rebelled against his own team and didn’t pay attention during huddles. Don’t even recall DH stooping to that level. Also committed terribly violent totally unnecessary flagrant fouls that got him suspended and hurt the team. If character matters, and I believe it does, Hibbert would be my choice as 2nd best center. Bynum has a great touch but can be taken out of his game by a physical center. Also dreadfully slow getting up and down the court. DH is arguably the greatest athlete ever to play the center position. And Bynum has had a total of one season when injuries didn’t thwart his development. When we look back in a few years, I’m betting we will see it as an insanely good deal for the Lakers. Why does everyone think the Lakers are now title contenders, because of Nash alone?

  16. pop562 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    The lakers gave up their 2017 first round pick to the magics and Bynum went to Philly…Jason Richardson contract went to the phillies as well and I also read that lakers are getting Chris duhon and earl clark… Which means lakers are taking over duhons contract…the only toxic contract left is turk, unless they amnesty Turk if they havent used it yet.

    • eerock41 - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      they used it on the washed up agent 0.

    • wlubake - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      They used it on Arenas.

  17. pudgalvin - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    The magic got nothing out of the deal except turning into a bad team? Not exactly what I call great value for who i think is the third best player in the league. 3 all stars and the two best centers in the league switched teams and the magic get moe harkless and their own bad draft picks in the coming years? Not to mention they let Bynum, the one player with somewhat comparable value to howard who could have been a building for the future go to a team in the same conference. I think you’ve got to do better.

  18. mikey1977 - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Yes they did get something out of this initial crap sandwich…the Magic will have 30 mil in cap space by 2014.

  19. theawesomersfranchise - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Yes you can totally judge Orlando now, you do not need to wait.
    They traded assets and got assets back. Time to judge if they received enough.
    The fact that they may or may not draft well is after the fact.

    Howard has value, did they receive proper value is the only question

  20. chiadam - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Um, yes. Yes they did blow it.

  21. dls612 - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    It won’t be a cake walk in the West for that over size toddler. He definitely will be earning every point, the clippers, spurs, okc,, and memphis all have guys that can bang with him. And if he’s not deep under the basket then what? He can’t create his own shot. He may catch a alley every now then, but it wont be enough. Those guys are not gonna let him come over and dominate the west. He in for a battle!

  22. rjlink1 - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    So remind me again what the point of firing Van Gundy was?

  23. birdsflynorth206 - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    This trade is a win for all teams involved.

    • dls612 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      That’s the illusion! The real winner is the Lakers! who is most likely to win the finals out of the three that was involved in this trade?The Lakers put themselves in contention for the next couple of years considering Kobe keeps playing. Sixers will be a good team but thats just it ,good! There is a huge road block! Teams like Miami, Boston, Pacers, Knicks, and the Bulls are above being good teams. And I don’t see the Sixers being contenders for a title anytime soon. And the Magic Will be struggling for quite some time. And the nuggets wont get past the first round.

  24. reggietfromda623 - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Tennethrill that’s just dumb to say

  25. wingsfan40 - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Who did the magic get?

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