Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Give me one smart, totally speculative, maybe outside-the-box trade scenario involving Dwight Howard in which everyone wins. Possible?
Steve Aschburner: Get Steve Nash to Orlando. The ingenious point guard – who already has shown us that Canadian calendars count years differently than U.S. editions – could be the guy who convinces Howard to stay in Orlando. He would wring extra creativity out of the Magic offense and, with some success this spring, perhaps lure a helpful free agent to what ought to be a destination market anyway. Phoenix, assuming Magic GM Otis Smith could put together a satisfactory package of picks, cash and/or players, would be doing Nash a “solid” and could move on to its next phase. That would be win (Suns), win (Magic), win (Howard), win (Nash), win (Dallas, if Deron Williams decides to head home this summer) and … oops, lose (Nets). Hey, five out of six ain’t bad.
Fran Blinebury: No way. Outside of fantasy leagues and Twitter, you don’t trade a franchise player, especially a big man, and have both sides come away singing Kumbaya. Wilt, Kareem, Moses, Shaq … the championships follow the star.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Not possible. There is no such thing as outside-the-box in this case. Sometimes, the obvious is the obvious for a reason. If indications are true and the Magic are only interested in players who can deliver wins now, as opposed to prospects and picks, the options have all been considered. It doesn’t matter, though. Orlando isn’t dealing him before March 15.
Shaun Powell: Actually, I’ll give you three. Dwight Howard to OKC for Russell Westbrook and others. Dwight Howard to the Bulls for Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Dwight Howard to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Those are the three deals where everyone wins. Well, almost. Better hope Dwight loves the rodeo, because there’s nothing else to do in OKC.
John Schuhmann: No, I don’t think it’s possible to come up with an outside-the-box scenario where everyone wins, because Howard’s choices for a long-term destination are so limited and teams not on Howard’s list would be pretty dumb to give up valuable assets for a six-week rental. Andrew Bynum for Howard is a decent deal, but certainly isn’t outside-the-box. And if Howard’s list is really limited to New Jersey, as the tea leaves seem to indicate, the Magic would probably be better off doing a two-team trade that gets them maximum salary relief (by including Hedo Turkoglu or Glen Davis in the deal) than adding more long-term salaries via a third team.
Sekou Smith: Your first mistake is assuming that there is a deal to be made out there where “everyone” wins. I cannot locate what absolutely does not exist. Any deal the Magic try to get done will involve them trading away the NBA’s best big man of the past four seasons, today and the foreseeable future. And they’d do that in exchange for what? A few draft picks and a player or two who are supposed to make Magic fans feel better about seeing Dwight Howard in another uniform? No way. If and when Howard gets traded — and I have a nagging feeling that it’s coming by March 15 — Orlando and the Magic lose instantly. (Unless LeBron James shows up under their trade deadline tree. And we know that’s not happening.) The only way the Magic win is if they find a way to do the impossible and add one of Howard’s All-Star contemporaries (the Nets aren’t about to assist them by giving away Deron Williams) to their roster. I honestly don’t see a “smart” or “outside-the-box” way out of this mess for the Magic.