HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We should all know better by now.
Once you dive into the NBA rumor mill, there’s usually no getting out. And now that these Dwight Howard rumors are percolating again, courtesy of Monday’s trip to New York, here we go down the rabbit hole.
Before we dive into the particulars, kudos should go out to Howard, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and the franchise itself for handling an extremely touchy situation with as much patience and professionalism as possible. After all, it’s not often your franchise player makes clear that he wants to play elsewhere in training camp and your team plays at as high a level as the Magic have so far this season (9-3 and winners of four straight games).
That said, these rumors will only increase as the trade deadline approaches. The latest, from Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com, has the Los Angeles Clippers joining the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers on the short list of teams Howard will accept a trade to.
It’s great to have another log tossed onto that fire just for the fun of it. Well, fun for everyone not associated with the Magic organization at least.
There’s “no issue” with Howard, according to one person familiar with the organization’s strategy. No issue yet, is probably a better way to put it. Armed with this new advice from [Carmelo] Anthony, which comes straight out of the LeBron James playbook for changing teams and embracing the negative fallout, Howard just keeps plugging along, saying all the right things and winning games.
It’s fool’s gold for the Magic, who are destined to lose Howard once he and his representatives pull out all the tricks that were deployed by LeBron and Melo, and a few new ones courtesy of a collective bargaining agreement that will force Orlando to make a decision rather than beg Howard to stay this summer. The max extension that Anthony got in his trade to the Knicks is no longer an option, and neither is the sign-and-trade route that would get Howard a max deal in July while also assuring that the Magic get some assets in return.
The issue that supposedly isn’t an issue is barreling down the lane like Howard in his Superman cape in the dunk contest. Hide the women and children, is the advice Anthony would have correctly offered the Magic if they’d asked.
“Our minds are on winning and staying focused on the goal, which is a championship,” Howard said. “It’s my job to lead our team and try to do a better job this year of being a good leader.”
Howard is fulfilling every bit of his obligation as a team leader.
I agree with Berger; this situation can only get sillier as the trade deadline approaches. It will be the same for Nets All-Star Deron Williams. Until something happens, one way or another.
We know better than to dip our toes into these rumor waters, but we all do …