When you turn the TV on to ABC on Sunday, you will probably hear it mentioned multiple times. Far more times than you want to hear it. Even after Howard’s insistence that he is not focusing on the summers ahead and that you or media should not be thinking about it either.
But here they are. The Los Angeles Lakers have come to town. And you will hear about it whether or not you want to. Be strong Magic fans. That is all I can say. Let everyone speculate about an uncertain future and try not to let it bother you.
The whirlwind is going to keep coming from now until the end of the next season. And it is going to bother you.
The Magic are at the center of the whirlwind with Howard. The Lakers and Knicks are one degree out, if you believe the rumors that Howard wants to play under those bright lights. Deron Williams, who rumor has it had some hand in Jerry Sloan’s decision to leave the Jazz, and Chris Paul are another layer beyond as free agents the same summer.
There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot of time before this storm quiets down — least of which is the new collective bargaining agreement that nobody seems to consider when they look into their crystal balls.
Orlando feels as though it is in a pickle, playing .500 ball in the last 18 games and cash-strapped with the second-highest payroll in the league and a team that appears to be fading from the race. Orlando already appears to have a ton of money committed for that dreaded summer too with Howard, Brandon Bass and Gilbert Arenas having early termination options on their contracts.
It is way too early to be thinking about this. But the national media will not let us avoid the panic. They did not let Cleveland have their peace, no reason to let us have ours.
I linked to a story on Twitter about why the Lakers should not trade Andrew Bynum in a Carmelo Anthony deal because not only is Bynum going to be critical to the Lakers’ bid for a third consecutive title, but could be the trade piece Los Angeles needs to acquire Dwight Howard at some point in 2012 (either at the deadline or by sign and trade). That got some response from commenters and followers who were in disbelief anyone would even suggest such a trade.
Personally, I believe that unless Howard asks the team to trade him, Orlando would never trade him. Really, I hope this is the last post I have to write in a long time about the summer of 2012. But it will likely not be. Every Magic fan has that concern in the back of their head. We have not had to handle such a major free agency. We were too naive to believe Shaquille O’Neal would leve. And we pushed Tracy McGrady out the door before he ever became a free agent.
Again, all I can advise is not to think about it.
When Mark Jackson, Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy all chime in on speculation about 2012, try to ignore it. It will be difficult I know. But you just have to get through tomorrow’s game against the Lakers before it all quiets down again.