Blog Entry

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:10 am
Magic executives have continued to tell teams this week they do not intend to trade Dwight Howard, but several teams came away from the conversations with a clear picture of what the club wants if it changes course: a replica of the deal Denver pulled off last February for Carmelo Anthony, multiple league sources told Thursday.

If the Magic decide to trade Howard, they have “not closed any doors” on potential suitors, said a person familiar with the organization’s strategy. Teams that are on and off Howard’s list of preferred destinations – the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers – will be considered, and may the highest bidder win, sources said.

What Orlando is seeking if it makes a deal for the All-Star center is a package similar to what the Nuggets received for Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline: multiple good, young players and draft picks. Orlando executives view the Denver model as a middle ground between blowing up a contender and starting over with draft picks and reaching for veteran All-Stars whose contracts ultimately could hinder the recovery from a Howard trade.

Representatives of three teams in the mix for Howard – either on his list or among teams willing to gamble on trading for him in the hopes that he can be persuaded to stay beyond this season – told Thursday that the Magic have not decided which path to pursue. Howard, 26, can opt out of his $19.5 million contract after the season and become an unrestricted free agent. His formal trade request through agent Dan Fegan of Lagadere Unlimited remains on the table and he has not given the Magic any commitment to opt in and/or re-sign after the season.

In a complicated, three-team trade for Anthony that was consummated after a five-month marathon over his desire to join the Knicks, the Nuggets came away with a treasure trove of young talent and draft picks: Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and 7-footer Timofey Mozgov plus a future first-round pick and two future second-round picks. Felton has since been dealt to Portland for Andre Miller. The Nuggets recently signed Gallinari to a four-year, $42 million extension (about half what Anthony makes over the same period), and are hoping to get Chandler, a potential 20-point scorer, back after a stint in China before the season is over.

The Nuggets also received another 7-footer, Kosta Koufos, from Minnesota, which made the trade work under league cap rules by taking Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks along with a second-round pick from Denver.

For a variety of reasons, a similar haul isn’t realistic for Howard, despite the fact that he’s a far more valuable star than Anthony. The Knicks also got former All-Star Chauncey Billups in the deal, and the Nuggets were able to parlay interest from the Knicks, Nets and other teams Anthony had no intention of extending his contract with into a bidding war that drove the price for him through the roof.

If a player is heading out of Orlando with Howard, it is likely to be Hedo Turkoglu. Unlike Billups – a productive veteran leader with one year left on his contract – Turkuglo will be a liability in the deal due to his declining skills and the $23.4 million he is owed over the next two seasons.

Nonetheless, the revelation that Orlando wants similar assets as those Denver received for Anthony moved the needle on the Howard saga with only a week to go before the March 15 trade deadline. If the Magic decide not to trade Howard by next Thursday, they face the prospect of losing him as a free agent and receiving no assets in return.

The Mavericks and Lakers, teams loaded with high-priced veterans, do not have the kind of assets the Magic want for Howard. The Nets, with 24-year-old 7-footer Brook Lopez and promising rookie guard MarShon Brooks, come closer – though two people familiar with the Orlando strategy told Thursday that none of the three teams has assets that would entice the Magic to part with Howard. Perhaps this is why Orlando officials have been more forthcoming in recent days about what they’d want in a package for Howard, and why at least one rival GM interpreted this shift in posture as an indication that Orlando understands it needs to create competition and prime the pump on the bidding war.

With the Magic determined to trade Howard to the team with the best offer if they decide to move him, a deal sending Howard to a so-called “rental” team (i.e., one he will refuse to give a long-term commitment to as part of the trade) could play right into the Nets’ hands. If, for example, Orlando traded Howard to Golden State and Howard opted out after the season, the Nets would be in a position to sign him as an unrestricted free agent without giving up any players or draft picks.

The other team aggressively trying to maneuver for a shot at acquiring Howard and persuading him to sign this summer is the Rockets, who need a replacement for retired center Yao Ming and who are still recovering from the voided Chris Paul trade that would’ve landed Pau Gasol from the Lakers. But a more serious contender could emerge in the coming days: the Hawks, who are dealing with disgruntled should-be All-Star Josh Smith’s own reported trade request. Smith and Al Horford would represent a coup for the Magic considering the alternative of losing Howard for nothing, and Atlanta is Howard’s hometown, where he attended Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. Even with the potential of getting – and keeping – a player of Howard’s popularity and impact, questions remain about whether the Atlanta ownership group would be able to afford two max players going forward. Joe Johnson is owed $90 million over the next four years.

If nothing else, Howard’s familiarity with Atlanta would diminish the biggest impediment for another potential rental team giving up major assets to get him: Aside from it being an untenable gamble in a normal season, it’s even more so in this one. If, for example, Howard were traded against his will to Golden State, he’d play only 26 games with his new team – and only 12 home games in his new surroundings.

“That’s not a lot of games to get attached to Golden State,” one rival executive said.

Could the Warriors possibly give up Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Ekpe Udoh, etc., under those circumstances? The Magic hope so, which is why the Howard saga quietly escalated to the next phase Thursday: Orlando’s attempt to follow the Denver model by creating a bidding war and scoring a Melo-like haul of assets.

So from now until 3 p.m. on March 15, the Dwight Howard story is open for business, 24 hours a day.

Since: Jan 4, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2012 11:10 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Finally the Magic are beginning to make sense. You either get a haul of young players and picks for him or you give him the choice to stay or eat $30 mil and walk. If he stays hey, that's great. If he walks, you go to the lottery for the next few years while clearing bloated contracts. Then 3 years from now you have 3 high lottery picks and cap space. Either get the big haul....or scrap the team and start over. The absolute worst thing they can do is accept mid-level "Stars" with bloated contracts in a desperate attempt to "compete". That's what they did to get themselves in this position in the first place with Hedo, Carter, and Arenas.   

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2012 10:32 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Seriously? There are teams that will give up young talent to rent Howard? Are they nuts? I thought the only way anyone would trade for Howard would be to have him commit long term. If not, the team that trades for him is more than likely going to end up with nothing after selling the farm to rent a sports car for a few weeks.

Orlando has mishandled this. Dwight demanded a trade a long time ago. They had time to initiate a bidding war among teams Dwight was willing to sign with. They listened to Dwight's hedging which had more to do with remaining popular than any desire to stay in Orlando. Now they want a Melo type deal on short notice? It would take past the trade deadline to even sort out such a deal and make it work.

Since: Dec 31, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2012 10:02 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

In case you haven't noticed Rose and Howard hate each other and don't want to share the spotlight. The Lakers have pulled out and will not trade Bynum. Nobody with a basketball IQ thinks Melo for Howard is a fair trade. He has said over and over he wants the Nets. So go ahead Orlando keep him. The Nets will just sign him in the summer for nothing and keep all their young talent. Or trade him to the Warriors as a "rental" and they'll see him walk. If the Magic had any common sense they'd trade him and Turkoglu for Lopez, Brooks, 2 first rounds picks and involve a third team to take more of their salary. Lopez is no scrub. he's not injury prone. Up until this year he's never missed a game. All these articles that says who wants to build a team him are idiots. He showed how dominate he was scoring 38 points shortly after returning.

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: March 9, 2012 8:49 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

I'm saying this to everyone who thinks with a non-realistic notion .... THERE IS NO WAY, NO WAY IN HELL .... that Dwight Howard stays in Orlando.  The Magic will be absolutely kicking themselves in the face if they honestly think they can persuade him to stay.  They have 5 days to understand this.... period.

Since: Nov 7, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2012 6:10 am

So Dwight gets traded to a team that....

I can't imagin Howard being happy on any team that had to gut itself to the bone to acquire him. He wants to play with Williams but the Nets suck and are stuck in same confereence as the Bulls and Heat. Mavs have to get rid of everyone so that is a bad option for him and Williams.

But then there is the Phoenix Suns in the shadows......

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2012 6:09 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Hosward

Players today practically want a championship handed to them on a silver spoon. A championship is ideally earned, even perhaps, after years of struggle. That's what would make it sooooo sweet!

I do not in the least have a problem with a players' desire to win. That is the ultimate goal. Yet, should a player make demands from such an early part of their career? Is patience no longer a virtue?

I truly believe Orlando wants to win. They are trying to assemble the parts to make it happen with Howard as the center piece.  Yet, he is, even at age 26, completely unwilling to wait. Furthermore, he wants the endorsements. You know what, the endorsements will come. To be the player who was the major piece in the puzzle to bring Orlando its first championship would be huge. Give it a few more years, Dwight.

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: March 9, 2012 3:22 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Golden State seems an unlikely destination since they are terrible, and would remain terrible with Dwight on their team minus all of their talent. Atlanta has the same issue. Minus Smith and Horford, they'll be terrible even with Dwight. He wants to go to a winner. Some of the best teams and markets in the NBA seem to have what it takes: NY, LA, and CHI are foremost amongst them. I don't understand what the Lakers are dragging their feet over with Bynum for Howard.  And given the failed Carmelo experiment, wouldn't New York be ecstatic to pull the trigger on Carmelo for Dwight (just a good old fashioned basketball trade)? That would make NY suddenly a better version of last year's scary Memphis team. CHI makes perhaps the most sense, with Noah and Deng for Howard, as they'd still have lots of talent surrounding Rose and Howard to unseat MIA as the favorites. I don't see OKC ever making a deal since they seem committed to the nucleus they've built (and rightly so, it's really good), but I think Kendrick Perkins and James Harden (who could be the star scorer on most teams) and maybe a supposedly talented young guy like Cole Aldrich might get it done and make OKC impossible to beat this year.

Since: Mar 9, 2012
Posted on: March 9, 2012 2:09 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: March 9, 2012 1:16 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Come on Orlando, listen to Jerry West. Make him leave $30 mil on the table. If you're going to rebuild, might as well do it with cap space as opposed to a bunch of pieces which are useless.

Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:46 am

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

If they wanted all of that for Howard they should have traded him much earlier.

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