Tag:Otis Smith
Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:00 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 10:45 am

Dwight Howard open to playing in Chicago

Howard says he would love to play with Rose in Chicago. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

Oh, thank goodness. It had been almost 24 hours without a prospective landing place for Dwight Howard popping up. I was starting to feel alone and sad. 

Thankfully, the Chicago Tribune spoke with Howard this week on the question all Bulls fans want to know. Does he really not want to play with Derrick Rose? The Magic's big man says as long as the Big Guy upstairs is down with it, he'd absolutely play next to the MVP. 

"If I could play with Derrick right now and God wanted that to happen, it will happen," Howard told the newspaper. "It has nothing to do with me not wanting to play with Derrick Rose. I love him. That's my brother."

via ChicagoTribune.com's "Dwight Howard: Orlando center Dwight Howard on long-shot trade to Chicago Bulls: If God wanted that to happen, it will happen."

Howard also denied any sort of marketing complication with Adidas would keep him from wanting to join the Bulls. Previous reports said Howard was possibly resisting the idea of playing in Chicago, whether due to complications with being "the man" next to Rose or the market when compared to New York or Los Angeles, or some other issue, like the weather. Howard could simply be playing the PR game to leave all of his options open. He's likely amiable to playing in Chicago, but still prefers the warm spotlight of L.A. or the fuzzy fur coats in Brooklyn.

But Howard would be wise to consider Chicago -- both for himself and the franchise he's likely dumping. A trade with the Bulls would be easiest to facilitate because they have quality veteran players to package in exchange for Howard, which the Magic are said to covet. With a full stock of draft picks, young players and sub-stars like Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, the Bulls could take on Howard's salary and one of the Magic's overpaid contracts. For Chicago, putting Howard next to Rose would be phenomenal -- and giving Tom Thibodeau the best defensive player in the league could create the best defense in league history, depending on whether Luol Deng were sent away in such a trade. 

Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 30, 2011 11:53 am

Report: Magic pursuing 'rental' team for Howard

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard is expected to be traded to the perfect spot. It'll be a team he wants to play for, since that team is the only kind he'll re-sign with this summer in free agency. It has to be a contender, or potential contender (as in the case of the Nets with Deron Williams), and a major market so he can get all the media and commercial love he desires. That's pretty clear. But the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic are pursuing another option. The rental game. 

The Magic are talking to more teams than the ones on Dwight Howard's wish list.

They will listen to anybody who is willing to take a risk and give up a few good men for Howard if he can lead them to the NBA Finals as a temp.

It's another reason why they will wait until the March 15 deadline to make a deal for Howard, after he's played 44 games in Orlando. His new team would land him for 22 games, plus the postseason.


Absolutely. Sounds more like a means to put pressure on the teams that Howard has approved (Nets, Mavericks, Lakers).

But the Magic think some teams might take a flyer, hoping they can convince Howard to re-sign with them.
via Orlando Magic: Magic to explore renting out Dwight Howard - OrlandoSentinel.com.

No one would be crazy enough to do this, right? To actually give up assets in order to nab Howard for 22 games and the playoffs, before he likely leaves? Well, there should be. That's right. I'm advocating insanity. That's how I roll.

Two factors to consider if you're in the hunt for a Dwight rental.

1. You have to move contracts that have considerable money behind them. The reason being, if Dwight doesn't re-sign, you don't want to be left without the pieces you traded, without Dwight, and a large salary situation. You're basically angling for a rebuilding. Part of the complication here is the Magic will want to dump Hedo Turkoglu or other components with salary burden. But the Magic have to know that to get back more talent like they reportedly want, they can't dump salary too in a rental situation. So why would the trading team risk rebuilding? 

2.  Because the odds of a title is worth it. Consider the Pacers. If you're Larry Bird, what are you really trying to accomplish, honestly? You want to make a good strong showing in the playoffs, maybe get hot and uspet some folks on the way to the eastern Conference Finals, to try and be in position to make one big move to get you over the hump and win the title in a wacky year. You know you're not going to be able to compete with Miami, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Chicago etc. every year. You're hoping to pull off a Pistons-esque title. The same goes for any team considering a rental. So if you're angling for one title, anyway, why not take your shot with the best defensive player in the league, an MVP candidate for 22 games and the playoffs. 

That's the reasoning. You also have to establish how long it will take you to get back to being decent, since you have to factor how much winning a title will bring you financially versus two-to-three years of rebuilding will hurt you. And then you have to measure that against your actual odds of winning the title this season.

All of this leads to the reality that the chances are not good. You're asking GM's and owners to take a phenomenal risk with a devastating loss if they miss, and the payoff might not even be that good. Are several years of second round appearances better financially than a title and two years of lottery dwelling?

There's no list available of teams that might be interested, but here are five teams who should consider making the jump.  

Indiana Pacers: As I mentioned earlier, the Pacers should be a team willing to make the move. Larry Bird doesn't want to do this forever. Getting Dwight gives them a chance to win the title this season, instead of waiting for years and years and years potentially without any payoff. The Pacers are deep enough to offer the Magic an option plan. Darren Collison or George Hill, Danny Granger or Paul George, and Roy Hibbert (youth, talent) vs. Jeff Foster (expiring contract, veteran experience).  That's a great package and still leaves the Pacers with whoever the Magic don't take, along with David West for scoring. 

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have been involved in talks this week with the Magic anyway, according to ESPN. Offering to move Josh Smith or Al Horford along with Joe Johnson puts the Magic in a great position to keep making the playoffs. The Hawks would have Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich, and either Smith or Horford to pair with Howard to try and make a run. With Howard having been born in Atlanta, it's got some pull and a good run might talk him into it. Not really, but sure. The biggest objection from Magic fans is that the Magic would never take on Joe Johnson's contract. But this is Otis Smith who took on Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu in one year to try and win. Meanwhile, Johnson is an All-Star, and still is an above-average-to-pretty-good player at both ends without injury issues. 

Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies may wind up moving Rudy Gay anyway if this season keeps up and they have to make a move. The Grizzlies need frontcourt depth. So get Dwight Howard! Genius! OK,it's a long shot, but if moving Gay, Sam Young or O.J. Mayo, and either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph brings in Howard, that could make the  Grizzlies the best team in the West. They'd have defense and the best low-post-scoring combo in the league. Memphis is unlikely to be able to stay in contention for several years. Why not take the shot now?

Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers have youth, Andre Igoudala as a centerpiece, and a full compliment of picks to add in. The team would be mortgaging the long-term value they've been angling for, but coach Doug Collins has also said that eventually they want to aim to bring in a star. Make a run with Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Howard, and if it doesn't work out, move towards the future.

Portland Trail Blazers: Paul Allen wants to avoid the luxury tax. What better way to do that than by trading for Howard's expiring contract? OK, kidding aside, the Blazers are so loaded, they can move Wesley Matthews and either LaMarcus Aldridge or Gerald Wallace. The remaining lineup would be good enough to challenge for the West.

Are any of these teams going to take the risk? No. Because this is not a league of gambling like this. The repercussions for failure would be catastrophic. But if a team really was all about winning a title, renting Howard for 22 games and the playoffs would be the boldest move possible.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:40 pm

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

By Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets announced Thursday that center Brook Lopez has a broken foot and will undergo surgery. His listed recovery time is 4-6 weeks, but the injury is also similar to the one that sidelined Mavs' guard Roddy Beaubois for months and which SI.com says doctors have said can take up to 4 months to heal. 

So no, this is not good news.

But as bad as it is for Lopez, it also has huge ramifications for the Nets and their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Lopez was the centerpiece of any trade to Orlando, giving the Magic a young center to at least take the sting off losing the league's best big man. At 4-6 weeks, there's time for Lopez to recover and get back on the floor to show himself still worth the Magic's investment (I'm sure that's No.1 on his list of priorities). But that assumes his surgery goes perfectly, his recovery is without flaw, and that his return has no issues.

At that point, the Nets may be one of the worst teams in the league. Howard will be staring at going to a team he'd have to claw out of the cellar alongside Deron Williams with, after having had to likely give up even more assets to account for the instability of Lopez' situation. While Howard would be looking at the big picture with regards to playing in Brooklyn the next six seasons, these superstars want to win now, every year, and don't want to risk missing the playoffs even a single season. The Magic would be then trading for a seven-foot center with a foot injury, which hasn't gone well in the history of the NBA. That damages the Nets' leverage in the package they'd have to give up, which would mean Howard would be giving his commitment to a team with nearly nothing on roster outside of Deron Williams.

Which isn't wholly different from what Carmelo Anthony did. But the Knicks were at least in playoff position at the time of the trade. Without Lopez, we see more of Johan Petro. The Nets' frontcourt, even with productive big man Kris Humphries, is going to be a near-disaster. Deron Williams is one of the top five point guards in the league, but there are limits to what even he can do.

Lopez meanwhile is faced with the balance of wanting to compete and do his job, wanting to get back on the floor as quickly as possible, and leveraging that against his long-term health. Throw in how the Nets have treated him for the past year, both in terms of his relationship with Avery Johnson and in his inecessant involvement in trade rumors, and Lopez will be rushing back from a serious injury to help a team that is clearly not invested in his future. Maybe he pushes himself just to get out of the situation, but it's not an unpleasant one, and that's before you deal with the mental and physical damage from undergoing this kind of injury process.

The Nets still have a chance at pulling off the trade which would set them up long-term in the future. But after making a huge gamble in trading for Deron Williams last season and surrendering nearly half their talent base, the Lopez injury makes the odds even worse. There's really only two ways this works out. The Nets pull of a miracle trade for Dwight Howard because he simply wants to play in Brooklyn that much, or they lose everything.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum looked spectacular in preseason play Wednesday night.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 3:50 pm

Magic targeting Deron Williams or Chris Paul?

Posted by Ben Golliverdwight-howard

Hours after Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide stepped down after admitting he drunk dialed All-Star center Dwight Howard, reports have surfaced in Orlando that the Magic are exploring their trade options in hopes of acquiring a second All-Star to placate Howard.

BHSN reports that Magic have lofty goals.
Source in Magic front office confirms the Magic are attempting to acquire Deron Williams from the New Jersey Nets to help Dwight Howard. Magic front office source confirms Chris Paul and Monta Ellis are on team's radar. Howard confidante told me Paul and Ellis were on Dwight's wish list. Magic will try to acquire another superstar to help him out. 
Vander Weide said similar things to the station before the door hit him on the way out.
He told BHSN he believes the Magic might be able to cater to Howard's needs and acquire another NBA superstar. "It is certainly possible, teams like our assets," said Vander Weide in regard to a question about the potential to acquire either Chris Paul of the Hornets or Monta Ellis of the Warriors.
As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Tuesday, Howard has not formally told the Magic whether he would re-sign with the team or elect to pursue his options by requesting a trade or entering free agency after this season.

What to make of these rumors? Well, first, they are a desperate attempt by the Magic organization to shift the discussion from the unprofessional conduct of one of their chief decision-makers during a critical time in the franchise's history. The sooner everyone starts talking about rumors -- any rumors -- the more quickly everyone forgets that the guy employed to keep the only player worth more than a damn happy was too busy drinking wine and "paddling" to remember the basics of the boss/employee relationship. The bigger the name in the rumor, the better right now. Anything to restore some element of hope following a lockout and prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season.

Once the dust settles, the Magic will find themselves where they've always been: in a ridiculous cap situation with mediocre talent and a small market that doesn't appear to be enough to satisfy Howard's demands. Recently, Magic GM Otis Smith admitted that he is open to entertaining trade offers for Howard. That's smart. Put that all together and we should expect the Howard outbound rumors to replace these All-Stars inbound rumors in no time. Given how weak the Magic look right now, we should also expect the volume and velocity of Howard outbound rumors to increase dramatically over the next few weeks.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:34 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 4:22 pm

Magic GM Otis Smith open to trading Dwight Howard

Posted by Ben Golliverotis-smith-dwight-howard

A new NBA season has apparently brought a new approach to managing the future of franchise center Dwight Howard for Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith.

After months of proclaiming that the Magic would not trade Howard under any circumstances, Smith reversed course on Wednesday in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel
“I think you have to look at everything,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel when he was asked if he'd consider trading Howard.

“I don’t think you can take anything out of consideration. I think, one, you have to talk to your player first. We have to figure out where his head is, not where everyone thinks his head is, and just more figure out where he wants to be. And then you have to make the best decision of what’s in the best interests of the franchise. That’s how I’ve always went about it: to make the best decision that’s in the best interests of the Orlando Magic."
By this point, NBA observers can read through the phrasing without even squinting to get between the lines. 

As we've learned time and again over the last few years in free agency, "take a look at everything" is the magic code phrase to fellow GMs. Translated it means: "Call me with something to look at." The phrase "talk to your players first" translates to "we will give it all we've got but we admit it might not be enough."  And, of course, the phrase "best interests of the team" translates to "we aren't leaving this process empty-handed."

As recently as last April, Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that the team was taking a firm no-trade stance on Howard.

"The answer will be the same as it always is: No."

Obviously, it's impossible to "look at everything" if you hang up the phone immediately.

This development is not all that surprising. Howard spent the lockout traveling the world and making it clear he was keeping his options open. The Magic, like any team, would be foolish to allow a MVP-caliber superstar like Howard walk out the door without receiving a package of young talent, draft picks and salary cap relief in return.

On Tuesday, word surfaced that the New Jersey Nets were prepared to offer a trade package for Howard. The Los Angeles Clippers are also reportedly interested and the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly investigating the matter too.

Earlier Wednesday, Royce Young of CBSSports.com explored the question of how the Magic might keep Howard.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:30 pm

Howard really doesn't want to talk free agency

Posted by Royce Young

With the way the Magic went down in flames to the Hawks in six games the opening round, it was inevitable. Forget questions about Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith's future.

It's all about Dwight Howard.

Clearly the focus is on Howard because he is to be a free agent in 2012 and with the way the Magic appear to be stuck in sand right now in terms of getting to a championship caliber, most see Orlando's clock as ticking. And with this failure, it's like someone pulled the wrong wire on a ticking bomb and the timer just started moving double-time.

But give Howard some credit. He's trying to squash all this rumor talk about his future. He's said every right thing. He's said he loves Orlando. He's said he's not focusing on anything but the present. I for one, believe him. There's a natural comparison to LeBron for a lot of reasons, except for the fact Howard and LeBron are different people. They have different motivations, different ideas, different personalities.

So Howard is going on the rumor killing offense right now. As he told the Orlando Sentinel:
“There’s no need for me to comment on it. So, you know, let’s not even talk about it. There’s no need to bring it up. Right now, I’m going to figure out how can I get myself better for next season, not about what team I want to play for. But right now I’m with the Magic, so all the speculation can stop. There’s no need to talk about it.”
Nice try, Dwight. But you know that's not going to put any kind of end to it. Otis Smith already tried to make it extremely clear that he wouldn't be Melo-ing Howard and trading him to avoid him walking. Smith has said he's prepared to take the chance of letting him make his choice.

Howard though, wasn't done with his offensive on the rumors. According to HoopsWorld, Howard singled out Ric Bucher of ESPN who has passed along things like Howard wants to go to the Lakers, among other things. Howard straight asked Bucher, "Where am I going, so I can tell my agent and my family?”

The sad part is, if Howard's frustrated with this now, it's only going to get worse and worse they closer the clock to 2012 ticks to. This isn't a bad Roland Emerich movie. July 1, 2012 could indeed be armageddon for the Magic franchise.

It must be noted though, Howard could put an end to all of this speculation right now by signing an extension. The offer is there and if he wanted to, he could re-up with the Magic. I don't blame him for not because why not let this play out and see what happens? Why not get another look at the direction of the franchise next year? But it needs to be mentioned that Howard could stop it tomorrow.

Other teams like the Knicks, Celtics, Nets and Lakers appear to be positioning to pounce on Howard. We all want to know right now what's going to happen because that's our nature, but here's one thing we do know: Howard will be playing at least one more season in Orlando. And he'd like it very much if we all just kept that as the focus.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 3:33 pm

Magic will retain coach Van Gundy, GM Smith

The Orland Magic will retain head coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith for the 2011-2012 NBA season. Posted by Ben Golliver. stan-otis

'Tis the season for coaching changes, especially when playoff teams don't reach lofty expectations. The Orlando Magic, though, is adament that its key basketball personnel will be back next season.

The Magic sits on the precipice of disappointment, trailing the Atlanta Hawks 3-2 in their first round series. The team entered the season with championship aspirations, made a roster-flipping midseason blockbuster trade and were regarded as heavy favorites coming into their series with the Hawks. 

Despite sitting one game from elimination, Orlando Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide issued a public show of support for coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith to the Orlando Sentinel.
"We're happy with Otis and Stan," Vander Weide said. "Neither are in jeopardy. I've been around now 20 years in the NBA and I've got a good idea of other people's skill-sets are out there, and Stan and Otis are as good a complement as any in the league."
The Magic's struggles against the Hawks, plus their slide to 52 wins this season after two questionable mid-season trades, drew speculation about job security for Van Gundy and Smith --- Smith in particular.
"You can second-guess, but the changes we made were made to win a championship," Vander Weide said. "We didn't feel we were going to win with the guys we had."
Van Gundy has guided the Magic to the playoffs and won 50+ games for four straight seasons, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2009. That track record more or less speaks for itself.

The Magic are faced with a franchise-defining moment in the relatively future: Can they convince center Dwight Howard to sign an extension? Besides the obvious benefits that go with maintaining stability and familiarity, keeping Smith along with Van Gundy is smart for two reasons. 

One: Smith knows Howard and has a far better chance of selling him on the Magic than any newcomer could, given the benefit of their shared history. Two: if Howard decides he wants to play in a bigger market or to team up with other superstars, Smith has a proven track record for not blinking when it comes to making big deals. Trying to picture Danny Ferry trading LeBron James? Impossible. Trying to picture Smith trading Howard? Definitely not impossible.

In other words, Smith is poised to be an asset to his organization whether Dwight Howard becomes the next Dirk Nowitzki or the next Deron Williams. He's smart and experienced enough to realize that this is a business, and he's dealt with Howard for long enough to establish a relationship that will keep the negotiating and closed-door conversations where they belong: out of the media.  

Perspective is also important here. While the Magic took a step back this season -- winning 52 games, seven less than the last two seasons -- this is still the golden era of Magic basketball. This is the only time the team has won 50+ four times in a row and there's nothing standing in the way of this group doing it again next season, save a work stoppage. 

Surely, roster changes are needed and expected. But stability has value, especially in Orlando right now.
Posted on: April 1, 2011 10:57 pm

Magic GM Smith thinks Howard will re-sign

Posted by Royce Young

Orlando general manager Otis Smith has taken trade calls for Dwight Howard. And he put it simply: "The answer will be the same as it always is: No."

Howard is the new big thing people are especially interested in. He's the new Carmelo Anthony. His contract expires in 2012 and already teams are positioning to recruit his services. Smith doesn't want to go through any Dwightdrama, so he's trying to nip it before it really cranks up. He's saying no, he says.

The Orlando Sentinel fills in the blanks:
Smith expects clubs to come calling before the trade deadline, thinking the Magic would rather receive compensation instead of letting Howard walk as a free agent. Smith made it clear: He's willing to take the risk.

"Sure," he said. There's a reason he feels that way. He reiterates that teams dealing superstars never get fair value, which is true, but there's something more. Smith believes --- and this is obviously encouraging news for Magic fans --- that Howard will stay in Orlando when all is said and done, texted and tweeted.

"That's my sense," he said.
It's a hefty risk to take I suppose, but then again, the Magic are probably right to take it. Howard so far, hasn't indicated he wants to leave. And just because a player says he wants to look at his options, it's not the black spot for a franchise. Maybe he really wants to look at his options. (By the way, Howard himself hasn't used that line yet.)

Already Howard has gone on record saying he'd like to stay in Orlando. And Smith feels like he means it. He's willing to take the risk. I don't blame him either. He has the franchise big man that pretty much 29 other teams will kill for. He has the toughest building block to nab. Smith said he'll offer Howard a token extension this summer even though he knows Howard won't take it. But it's what you have to do to try and keep a player like that.

Why did Smith go on record and tell us all this? No clue. Smith has never been shy with reporters, but the most I can figure is that either he was just being honest or maybe trying to spare his cell phone a few rings with trade offers.

People almost thing it's unheard of for a star now to stay put and be happy, but there is a strong possibility Howard could do it. Like so many others, Howard wants to win. That's the main objective. And the Magic have been in a Finals and have remained successful. Other than having another GM carve out a roster to team Howard up with Chris Paul somewhere (he could sign in Orlando in 2012, you know) or find a way to get him with Melo and Amar'e in New York, Howard's best option might be with the Magic.

You can be sure that the Nets, who are trying to convince their own superstar to stay, will call Smith. You can be sure basically everyone in the league has their eye on this. But Smith is willing to roll the dice and it might just be the right move. Why he's telling about it now though, I can't say.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com