Sunday, July 1, 2012

How the Orlando Magic Deal Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets - and Why They'd Be Fools Not To

(El Miz is in transit today, so I am posting on his behalf. Please see his thoughts on the newest "Dwightmare")

Dwight Howard has demanded a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.  While the possibility exists that new Magic GM Rob Hennigan could deal him elsewhere, the Magic would need to find a trading partner who would be willing to give up assets for a disgruntled superstar who would still want to play in Brooklyn.  Good luck with that.

So after bungling his first “demand” at the Trade Deadline last February by caving as the minutes ticked down (allegedly after Twitter feedback got too negative, a rumor which if true arguably eliminates the likelihood of Dwight even having the mental makeup necessary to be the best guy on a championship team), Dwight finally manned up yesterday and told the Magic straight up that not only does he no longer want to play in the Magic Kingdom. He wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
This is an excellent opportunity for the Magic.  Hennigan would be a fool if he is reluctant because of the misguided machismo premise: “Dwight won’t tell me what to do!”  Get over yourself, bro.  Deal Dwight, and rebuild overnight. 



If Hennigan still has cold feet, he should look at his roster objectively and consider whether the Magic can win as presently constructed.  The answer is no.  A disgruntled superstar, and a hilariously overpaid group of old has-beens masquerading as a supporting cast.  Hennigan can blame former GM Otis Smith for mismanaging the roster and committing to the likes of Hedo Turkoglu ($11.4 in 2012-13, $12.2 in 2013-14), Jason Richardson ($5.8 in 2012-13, $6.2 in 2013-14, $6.6 in 2014-15), and Chris Duhon ($3.7 in 2012-13, $3.9 in 2013-14).


2012/13
2013/14
2014/15
Dwight Howard
$19,261,200
$0

Hedo Turkoglu
$11,400,000
$12,200,000
$0
Glen Davis
$6,400,000
$6,400,000
$6,600,000
JJ Redick
$6,000,000
$0
$0
Jason Richardson
$5,799,625
$6,204,250
$6,601,125
Ryan Anderson
$3,234,468
$0
$0
Quentin Richardson
$2,627,400
$2,808,600
$0
Chris Duhon
$3,680,000
$3,920,000

Justin Harper
$762,195
$0
$0
TOTALS:
$59,164,888
$31,532,850
$13,201,125


Enter the Nets.

The Nets only have $17 million committed in salaries for the 2012-13 season.  They are far under the estimated salary cap of $60 million (NOTE: the salary cap and the tax-paying threshold of $70 million are two different numbers) and able to take on some of the bad contracts.   Tell the Nets that they can have Dwight.  Tell the Nets they can have Hedo, J-Rich, and Duhon, too.  Insist the only way the deal gets done is if Brooklyn takes on the three worst contracts left on the Magic.
The Magic can also insist the Nets give up skilled 7-footer Brook Lopez, second-year scorer MarShon Brooks, and a haul of future draft picks.  In four NBA seasons, Lopez has career averages of 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks.  Prior to last year’s foot injury, Lopez had been 82/82 in his first three NBA seasons in terms of games played.  He has been a durable 7-footer who can score, make free throws, and block shots.  Brooks showed flashes of potential as a rook, going for over 20-points seven times.  He may be nothing more than instant offense off the bench, but he is young and cheap.

Trading Howard immediately makes Orlando a young team with a ton of cap flexibility.  Cap flexibility in today’s NBA opens the door to being involved in any trade as a third-team that can take on a contract or two to facilitate the deal, while taking on draft picks and prospects in exchange for getting involved to help the trade go through.  Most importantly, such a trade would save Orlando over $20 million currently committed in 2013-14 to the trio of overpaid thirty-somethings in Turkoglu, Richardson, and Duhon, opening the door for the Magic to sign two max free agents a year from now.


2012/13
2013/14
2014/15
Glen Davis
$6,400,000
$6,400,000
$6,600,000
JJ Redick
$6,000,000
$0
$0
Brook Lopez
$4,190,850
$0
$0
Ryan Anderson
$3,234,468
$0
$0
Quentin Richardson
$2,627,400
$2,808,600
$0
Marshon Brooks
$1,193,280
$1,276,560
$2,299,084
Justin Harper
$762,195
$0
$0
TOTALS:
$24,408,193
$10,485,160
$8,899,084

(NOTE:  Lopez and Anderson have qualifying offers.  Anderson will likely sign an extension with Orlando this offseason, while Lopez would sign an extension if he were to be dealt.)
The last time Orlando was in such a situation, they were spurned by Tim Duncan but able to get Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady to sign on the dotted line to play in tax-free, sunny Orlando. 

Chris Paul, Monta Ellis, Andre Igoudala, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Kevin Martin, and Andrew Bynum will all be potentially be unrestricted free agents a year from now, some more likely (Iguodala, Jefferson, Martin) than others (CP3, Bynum).  James Harden will be available as well, as a restricted free agent on a team (Oklahoma City) already committed to two max contracts (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook), needing to pay Serge Ibaka at some point and unable to commit to another without having to pay a serious luxury tax bill which grows with every successive year a team is over the cap.  Brandon Jennings is also a restricted free agent, and he made overtures late last season that he would be looking to move on from Milwaukee.
Naysayers will say “look at what Denver did” and imply that Orlando should call Dwight’s bluff again, like the Nuggets did with Carmelo Anthony, and not trade him until a sweeter deal comes along than clearing your cap and getting some good but not great young talent. 

But what does this accomplish?  Two seasons later, Denver’s trade haul of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov is simply unremarkable.  That trio will most certainly not be the nucleus of a future championship team.  So why is that the blueprint to follow? 
Deal Dwight now and turn the page.  Get rid of the deadweight in the same move.  In fact, if they decided to go with a New Orleans-type of tanking and rebuilding scenario, they could deal JJ Redick and Glen Davis in corresponding moves for a combination of expiring contracts, younger players and draft picks to truly bottom out.  Regardless if they purse that avenue or not, the Magic go into 2012-13 with a young, hungry roster and cap flexibility to be involved in every scenario, and ready to jump into the 2013-14 free agent class with the ability to lock up two players.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment