The Dwight Howard saga has continued to press onwards. With the rollers still fresh on the Dwight Howard “LOYALTY” T-shirts, Howard began pressing the issue again, saying he wants his contract voided and that he was “blackmailed” into waiving his early termination clause with the Magic. He later came and recanted those statements, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? The writing has been on the wall for quite some time: Howard wants out of Orlando.
The Magic may now be sitting on the best offer yet, though, and it was available back at the trade deadline as the wrestled with whether or not to deal the three time Defensive Player of the Year. Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, and three first round picks are being dangled in front of Rob Hennigan, the 30 year old baby faced GM of the Orlando Magic.
There are a lot of reasons Hennigan should take this deal. First off, Brook Lopez is one of the best young big men in the league. He is not Dwight Howard, and he’s not even Andrew Bynum, but he is still capable of attracting double teams and being the focal point in an offense. He’s averaged near or over 20 points per game for two of his first three full seasons in the league, and we can throw out last year because it was an injury laden disappointment for Lopez. Lopez will keep paint clogged and open up three point shots for the sharp shooting Magic squad.
Lopez doesn’t rebound well, but that is where Humphries comes in. Humphries is double double machine and grabbed 11.0 rebounds per game last year while also scoring 13.8 points per game. Humphries’ rebounding prowess allows Lopez to be lazy, and that’s fine. The Magic can count on Glen Davis, Ryan Anderson, and even rookie Andrew Nicholson for rebounding, while Lopez does the scoring. Davis even proved himself to be a capable scorer in the playoffs, putting up 19.2 points per game in the first round loss to the Indiana Pacers. With Dwight Howard out, Davis showed the Magic have a capable starting center, and putting Davis on the court with Lopez could give teams a lot of problems, if we’re to assume Glen Davis’ performance in the Playoffs wasn’t a total fluke.
Lastly, MarShon Brooks was second in the NCAA in scoring two seasons ago and showed he is going to be a big time scorer in the NBA, as well. Brooks is capable of getting off a lot of shots fast, and is a very strong “gunner” type. His senior year at Providence, he averaged 24.6 points per game and as an NBA rookie he put up 12.6 points per game. Over time, he could develop into the fringe all star type of player and dynamic scorer that could shine alongside Lopez and whatever other pieces the Magic are able to assemble.
That’s not even to mention possibly the best part: Three first round picks. First round picks are the best way to retool a franchise and the Nets’ picks should be relatively decent, no worse than middle of the round, because I don’t think that even with Howard aboard they will be an elite contender. Deron Williams and Dwight Howards surrounded by a lot of trash isn’t likely any better than the teams Howard has already been playing with, but don’t tell him that. If the Magic were able to net middle of the round picks with those three selections, in addition to the mass of talent they are already assembling, they could become contenders themselves.
That is, after all, the point of this trade, or any trade. The Magic don’t want to send themselves back to Square One. Rich DeVos is in his late 80s and wants to see the team win a title before he leaves the globe. This type of move would allow that, without hindering the Magic’s flexibility moving forward.
There’s a lot of other things the team must do: re-sign Ryan Anderson, find a capable point guard (assuming they let Jameer Nelson walk), and perhaps most importantly find a good head coach, after firing Stan Van Gundy, who was unarguably the most successful coach in Orlando Magic history.
For now, they’ll be smart to mull this offer from the Nets over really well, aware that it could be the best they’ll receive. Sometimes patience isn’t rewarded.