It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the New York Knicks — the Magic’s opponent tonight — make a play for Dwight Howard next season, perhaps offering either Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony at trade deadline for the all-star center.
Howard can become a free agent after next season, and the Magic will be nervously waiting for the NBA’s most dominant big man to make a decision.
If they don’t want to wait and risk losing him without compensation, the Magic could listen to trade offers for Howard next season. It’s when they have some leverage.
Teams in the NBA will be falling all over themselves in attempts to pry Howard away from Orlando — at the trade deadline and, obviously. next summer if, or when, he’s free.
The Knicks are desperate for a center. You don’t think they’d part with either Anthony or Stoudemire for Howard? Stoudemire has had to play the role of the Knicks’ big man this season, and it has worn him down.
“What I see is I still got to get players to put around him to help him,” Knicks GM Donnie Walsh said of Stoudemire, according to the New York Post.
“He can do what he can do great, but we’ve asked him to do what’s beyond him. I know what I have to add to this team. We need bigger people on the team. We need more of them.”
Of course, the last thing the Magic want to do is move Howard, period, and especially to any team in their conference.
You don’t get anything close to equal value in return — and never a superstar. Except that the Knicks have two (so-called) stars to offer.
The Denver Nuggets received some talented role players from New York in the deal for Anthony. Surprisingly, it is the Nuggets who have prospered while the Knicks have struggled mightily pairing ‘Melo with Stoudemire.
Complicating any deal for a pending free agent — as we saw with the Knicks-Nuggets ‘Melo drama — is whether he would re-sign with the team that acquires him.
Anthony was eager to go to New York and sign a $65-million extension. The New Jersey Nets traded for Utah point guard Deron Williams, however, taking the risk that he will re-sign when he becomes a free agent. Williams remains non-committal to the Nets.
There are so many variables at work next season, making any scenario involving Howard’s future impossible to predict. A lock-out is brewing this summer, plus Howard has said publicly that he hopes to stay in Orlando, presumably if the Magic can find more help to deliver him a ring.
The Magic, in a move to keep Howard in town, will likely try to acquire a star to play with him.