It's a slow news day for the Detroit Pistons so we might as well enjoy a little of the NBA Trade Deadline craziness vicariously. And there is no bigger source of rumors, speculation and cage rattling than out of Orlando where Dwight Howard might or might not be traded.
And according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo, Howard has secretly already made up his mind to sign with the New Jersey Nets in the offseason, and maybe not even in a sign-and-trade deal. Crazy!
With the combination of Howard's disdain for confrontation, desire to be liked and a pragmatic belief that a trade is no longer in his best long-term interests, Howard has created an illusion with the Magic that there are factors that could cause him to sign an extension with the team.
"Dwight's gone, and [Magic CEO] Alex Martins is the only person who doesn't believe that," a league source with knowledge of Howard's intentions told Yahoo! Sports.
What's more, the report alleges that all of the information coming out of Orlando that Howard maybe/possibly/perhaps could be willing to sign with the Magic long term with better pieces around him is basically all a lie. A lie to make him look good and the organization to look feckless, I suppose.
There have been reports in the past few days about a possible three-way trade involving the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and the Magic, with Orlando getting Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson, and Golden State getting Andrew Bogut. It still isn't enough for Dwight to commit to Orlando beyond this season so the trigger has yet to be pulled. If this report is accurate if the Magic go through with the trade they will basically be stuck with a raft of bad contracts and no Dwight Howard. And apparently the only one who can't see this are CEO Martins and team ownership:
Magic general manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy have known Howard the longest. They know he will leave them and they want a deal done prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. The gulf between Martins and his basketball operations staff has become vast, full of mistrust and animosity. "Otis and Stan want the circus to end," one source close to them said. "They want a deal."
And it could get even worse for the Magic if Howard doesn't ask for a sign and trade, which would allow him to get the maximum number of guaranteed money and years in his next contract:
Said another official, who has been involved in deal talks with Orlando, New Jersey and the agents in the process: "Dwight is going to [expletive] them, and that will be especially true if he doesn't even ask for the sign-and-trade on July 1, because he wants Brooklyn to keep assets."
The thinking goes that for the Nets to be competitive it can't just be Deron Williams and Dwight Howard, so a trade doesn't make any competitive sense for Howard's supposed next team. And on the financial front, Howard would be willing to forgo the $28 million in possible guarantees.
Crazy, you say? Two words: shoe deal.
Adidas wants him in a major market - New York or Los Angeles - and this scenario promises him the highest possible value on his upcoming renegotiation on his shoe deal.
Expect the denials to come fast and furious out of this report, but following the carefully orchestrated maneuvers out of Miami and New York, I believe this 100 percent.
So how do you fix this? I'm glad you asked. It's something I hope to address in a post either today or tomorrow. And I'm going to need your help to figure out the solution. But I'll leave you with that little tease.