After a very tumultuous season for the Orlando Magic, the team has decided to fire their coach Stan Van Gundy and their GM Otis Smith. After being one of the best teams for much of the NBA season despite trade rumors surrounding their best player, Dwight Howard, the Magic limped (literally) to the finish and lost their first round series 4 games to 1 to the Indiana Pacers.
Things began going badly for the Magic when Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy had a very awkward press conference where first Van Gundy said that Howard had told the Magic that he wanted Van Gundy gone, and then Howard came in and said that he was only concentrated on the night’s game. He did not know what Van Gundy had just told the media seconds before. A few weeks after that, Howard suffered a back injury and did not return for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.
So how do these moves by Orlando effect the Nets? Well, we now know that the Magic would rather keep Howard and sign him to an extension than trade him. Van Gundy did an excellent job with the Magic for much of the season and didn’t deserve to be fired. They had one of the best five records in the NBA before the Howard injury, and Van Gundy deserves a lot of the credit for not letting his team lose focus in the many Howard trade rumors. The Magic got rid of Van Gundy because Howard has told them that he did not want Van Gundy to be the coach. This shows that the number one priority for Orlando is keeping Howard, and they will do whatever possible to do this.
However, if Howard refuses to sign an extension with the team, they will have no choice but to trade him, because they do not want to face a situation like the Cavaliers did a few years ago where they lost Lebron James and got nothing in return. If Howard does not commit to the team, he will be traded. I suppose it can only help the Magic’s chances of keeping Howard by firing Van Gundy, but I think this time around, Howard will refuse to sign an extension and demand a trade, likely to Brooklyn. From all the reports I am hearing, the only team Howard wants to play for is Brooklyn, but this does not necessarily mean that he will be traded there. The Magic can care less where he goes. What will determine this is if another team is willing to take a risk on trading a lot of pieces for him and not knowing if he will even be there past next season. There are some teams that will want to do this. The question will be if the Nets can offer Orlando more for Howard than those teams can.
We have talked a lot on this site about the possibility of Howard coming to Brooklyn and whether it would even be a good trade for the Nets to get him, because there is a good chance he will come to Brooklyn as a free agent anyway. What would you be willing to give up to get Dwight in a Nets uniform?