Now It Makes Sense For Magic To Trade Dwight Howard

If Dwight Howard follows through with his plan -- I'll forgive you for being skeptical given Superman's recent history of indecisiveness -- and signs a waiver of his early termination option, ensuring that he remains under contract through the 2012-13 season, the Orlando Magic should immediately trade him to the highest bidder.

Signing the waiver is a 'Get Out of Jail' card for the Magic. The Magic have operated this season at a distinct disadvantage in this trade game: they were the only ones facing a deadline. If Dwight signs the waiver, that deadline is gone. Power is back on Orlando's side.

Of course, trading Howard after he commits to Orlando seems untenable, because it's pretty evil. But ...

... who cares? It's not like too many Magic fans like Otis Smith to begin with. Ownership, which seems particularly attached to Howard (for obvious reasons), has a different issue at hand: alienating fans is not something teams do lightly (unless they are the New York Knicks [because, seriously, man]). But winning is the ultimate disinfectant. Recent NBA history has shown that the packages offered for trading a superstar with at least a year left on his deal are much better than for rentals. The Jazz did it with Deron Williams. The Hornets did it with Chris Paul (who waived his own early termination option in the Clippers deal).

Howard's waiver, if it is signed in short order, lets the Magic effectively rewind a calendar and make a blockbuster that sets Orlando up for the future ... the post-Howard future. Will fans be angry? Most assuredly, especially when Howard or his people trash the franchise for its disloyalty for its evil plot twist. But they'll get over it. On matters like this, they always get over it. Given the politics of the post-Decision league, a good subset of fans may even appreciate the Magic's institutional fortitude in saving itself from the whims of a 20-something basketball king. The media will surely fall all over itself commending the team's leadership for standing up to a clownfraud holding a city hostage.

There's almost no chance the Magic will trade a tentatively committed Howard, even though it makes perfect sense for the future good of the franchise. The reticence is understandable but unfortunate. The Magic would be better off with a major reset at this point.

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