The Dwight Howard saga is a confusing mess of rumors and innuendo.
I borrowed that line from the LeBron James saga from a couple of years ago. Or was it the Carmelo Anthony saga? Or Chris Paul?
The same information applies to any stud player who is on a team that has gotten frustratingly close and is about to become a free agent... especially when that free agent doesn't nothing to really quell the fears of his hometown fans.
But now there's hope for the Orlando Magic fan struggling to come to grips with what might be the end of the Howard era. Dwight says he wants to stay... provided the Magic can give him a superstar teammate.
Saturday afternoon, one of Dwight Howards's closest confidants told BHSN that Howard's preference is to stay in Orlando, rather than be traded. Howard's hope is for Magic President Otis Smith to "hit a home run" via trade and acquire another NBA superstar, most notably Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors was another name also mentioned. The source wished to remain anonymous.
Paul is a good friend of Howard and the duo speaks often. Howard had spoken to Paul over the phone earlier Saturday.
That's all well and good, Dwight, except the Magic are pretty handcuffed at the moment, making a deal for Paul pretty far-fetched. Matt Moore of CBS sports took a shot at a scenario in which Paul went to Orlando... and the result wasn't pretty:
The Magic would trade some combination of Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, Daniel Orton, and Jameer Nelson to the Hornets for Paul, along with a first-round pick in 2012. That's right. The Magic could lose both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013 and have no first-round pick. Disastrous-sounding, I know.
And the question remains, will New Orleans take any of those guys in exchange for Chris Paul?
The Magic have been trying to find the right pieces to put around Dwight Howard for a while now, which is why they're in the mess they're in. The pieces have been wrong. Very wrong. Maybe too wrong to be fixable. And at this point, you have to wonder if the desperate attempts to keep Dwight in Orlando will be counter-productive. The question is, is any player worth giving up that much?
Orlando has to have a come-to-Jesus moment with itself. Are they willing to give up most, or all, solid role players to get Chris Paul and keep Dwight Howard? Or are they just going to give up Dwight, get some pieces in return for him, and hope to build their team another way. They need to look at where they stand in the East, what they'll have left over, and which road will put them in the best position as a team.
The final decision may not be one the fans like, but it might be the one the team needs to make.
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