“I feel they have to roll that dice. It might be tough, but I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity. But they’ve got to roll it.”
Well, Dwight Howard, of course, they’re going to end up losing this one. You already made it awkward with the Magic by asking the higher-ups to oust Stan Van Gundy as coach, which was made more awkward by SVG telling the truth to the reporters.
And then now, Howard is out with a back injury. He may not even be back in time for the playoffs and then we’re going to be back into this mess in the offseason. Yes, Dwight has opted into next season but who’s to say he doesn’t bolt at the end of that year, right?
But with the moves made last offseason (extending Jason Richardson and acquiring Big Baby), it’s pretty hard to make any more moves to improve the team. Ryan Anderson is going to get a big deal from some team so that’s going to be more money spent if the Magic decide to match it.
So I think the Magic have to blow this up as soon as possible. I know injuries happen in the league but this is the lousiest time for Dwight to get hurt. And even then, the way Dwight has been as of late, it’s been pretty hard to trust him. He actually tweeted about hosting a party in Orlando (which was deleted since then) when at the same night, he was supposed to be seeing a back specialist in L.A.
It’s not just Howard at fault here. Otis Smith hasn’t constructed a good team ever since their contending years and SVG’s brutally honest personality (despite him being a wonderful coach) tends to wear on players. Maybe all three have to go but I definitely think Howard needs to go. He’s been pretty toxic this whole year and his wishy-washy personality is not doing Orlando any favors. Yes, he’s a franchise center but I’m not sure if I would take the risk of losing him at the end of next season and go through this media circus again that would be a distraction for the squad for potentially the next 15 months or so (and it’ll be a question mark again this coming offseason). I felt one of the very few ways for them to rectify this situation was to make a deep playoff run with Van Gundy and Howard leading the way… and that’s not going to be possible this year with Howard hurt. Who would I trade Howard for? I don’t know. Draft picks would be nice so they can start the rebuilding in earnest. They’re definitely not going to get all-stars in return (of course, they’ll give it a shot… but it’s not realistic). With Andrew Bynum set to become the next franchise player in Lakerland (where Dwight didn’t want to go, anyway), the Nets‘ package of Brook Lopez and picks is sounding more and more attractive by the day.
Oh, that Finals appearance felt like yesterday, Orlando.
PHOTO CREDIT: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP.