SportsNation Blog Archives Orlando Magic
Dwight Howard's exit from Orlando was somewhat less than cordial. Now he'll have to deal with the fallout upon his return. Howard will be in Orlando for the first time since becoming a member of the Lakers, and it's pretty likely that he'll be booed mercilessly. Still, Magic fans might have at least a hint of affection remaining for their former superstar; it's not like his departure left them mired in the basement, possibly for years to come. Right?
Howard has been turning it on as of late after a disappointing start to the season, and the Lakers' 33-31 record is a reflection of that.
The last time Howard met the Magic, they fouled him relentlessly. He went 9-of-21 from the foul line in a 113-103 Lakers loss.
No. 12 is back in Orlando. No, the Magic didn't reacquire Dwight Howard at the trade deadline, but instead gave his old number to newly acquired Tobias Harris. The second-year forward wore No. 15 for Milwaukee, but switched to No. 12 -- the number he wore during his college career at Tennessee -- when making his Magic debut this weekend. Some Orlando fans debated whether Howard's number would eventually be retired by the franchise, even after his contentious departure. And while giving the number to Harris certainly doesn't prevent that, the question remains: Is it too soon to see someone else wearing Superman's old duds?
D12 to T12?
Magic fans are used to seeing No. 12 throw it down. But after Dwight Howard was traded, that number is now being worn by Tobias Harris.
For nearly a decade, No. 15 has been associated with Carmelo Anthony in Denver. But what was once worn by Melo now belongs to Anthony Randolph.
Dwight Howard's "will he or won't he" saga wasn't quite as protracted as, say, Brett Favre's (Brett, if you're reading this, don't get any ideas, yeah?), but if he had his way last season, Howard wouldn't have necessarily ended up with the Lakers. Howard said he originally wanted to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, joining Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in an East Coast power trio. Given how everything ended up this offseason, should the Magic have made the trade?
Nets or Lakers?
Dwight Howard is part of a potentially powerful Big Three, but he could have gone a much different route.
This Dwight Howard thing hasn't lasted as long as, say, that Brett Favre thing did a few years back, but it's starting to feel like it. Howard won't back down from his demand for a trade, and has said again to the Magic that he will leave as a free agent at the end of next season. The Magic have floated a number of trades, but nothing has worked so far -- either the particulars were too complex, or one team felt it wasn't getting enough in return, and so on, and so on. One of these days, it seems like Dwight Howard is probably going to be wearing a different uniform, but will he have to wait until the end of the season to do so?
Would Howard stay?
Dwight Howard seems to have had enough of Orlando, but if the team commits to building a contender, could it keep him on, at least for a little while?
The Nets may be in the middle of building a squad to rival the NBA's best. After acquiring Joe Johnson from the Hawks (a move that makes Deron Williams more likely to come back), the team is discussing a trade that would bring Dwight Howard on board. The move would immediately make the Nets a team to be reckoned with, although the asking price for Howard is incredibly steep. Still, it'd be worth it for a team in its first year in a new location to have multiple superstars already in place to greet fans.
Howard is one of the most dominant defensive players in the league, and alongside Williams and Johnson could really step up his offensive game.
A steep price?
The Nets could be mortgaging their future with this trade -- Brook Lopez has proven himself a skilled scorer, and losing three first-round picks could severely limit the team's flexibility.
The Heat's Big Three have already proven their championship chops, but would they be overtaken by the theoretical Nets trio?
On Tuesday, "First Take" debated the proper people to blame for the mess that is the Orlando Magic. Skip Bayless thinks the Magic got rid of their primary problem in coach Stan Van Gundy, while Stephen A. Smith places the blame above Van Gundy's pay grade. What's your take?
The NBA playoffs so far have been characterized by significant injuries to big-time players. Dwight Howard was out before the postseason began, Derrick Rose went down in the waning minutes of Game 1, and several other players (Baron Davis, Amare Stoudemire, etc.) have fallen victim to on- and off-court maladies. Consequently, we're seeing a lot of series that definitely will not go the distance -- there are six 3-1 series in play right now, along with two that have already been decided. The Nuggets in particular have had fits dealing with the new-look Kobe Bryant -- he's been more of a distributor late in games than he has in the past, where the game plan was simply "give it to Kobe."
Kobe Bryant's role in the fourth quarter is usually that of a force of nature, but these playoffs have seen him rely more on his teammates.
Thunder or Spurs?
The Spurs and Thunder have already taken care of their two opponents, but it's still a long way to go before either team makes it to the finals.
The Bulls and Magic find themselves in the same 3-1 hole as the Nuggets and Hawks, although Denver and Atlanta didn't lose their franchise players early on.