Magic Wands: Magic’s last push for Dwight fails

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You probably know by now, Rob Hennigan was in Los Angeles yesterday to speak with Dwight Howard and try to sell him on his vision for the Magic. It did not work. Howard re-affirmed his trade request and asked out of Orlando. So much for that.

Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM had some details from the meeting that reveals how far gone the relationship is and how much Howard wants out of Orlando:

Hennigan’s pitch to Howard had a heavy focus on the two men developing a relationship that would be valuable to the Magic moving forward. He expressed a sincere interest in getting to know the six-time All-Star and working with him to improve the team. Howard, however, was expecting an outline of how the team planned to improve and get back to a championship-contending level, something he didn’t receive during the hour-long meeting, according to sources.

Howard was staunch in his stance and again made it clear to Hennigan that he has no desire to return to Orlando. He told the 30-year-old general manager that he would “never sign another contract with the Magic,” sources tell RealGM.

During the meeting, Howard informed Hennigan that he would be willing to re-sign with the Lakers at the end of the 12-13 season if the two teams were able to complete a trade. The scenarios Howard was open to during the meeting were: An immediate trade to the Lakers, a January trade to the Brooklyn Nets or a clean break at the end of the 2012-13 season. But he was clear that he would not return to the Magic, choosing to leave as a free agent after the season, sources said.

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The Magic are making a last ditch effort to talk to Dwight Howard and reports have the Magic prepared to keep Dwight Howard for the entire season. More thoughts on that later.

For now though, some thoughts on the extension talks slowing down these major trades from my work over at Crossover Chronicles:

There are two important pieces to this Dwight Howard trade that will not ever be definitively solved and it gives players a ton of power in deciding where they go. The issue is signing the extension.

While reports indicated Howard would be willing to stay with the Lakers long term, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, spoke with Ric Bucher of ESPN and said Howard will not sign any extension. Howard’s plan has and always will be to enter free agency.

The same could be said for the other main piece of the reported Magic-Lakers-Cavaliers trade, Andrew Bynum. Bynum will also be a free agent in 2013 and one of the supposed hang ups is that Orlando is not interested in acquiring a player they are not sure about that will enter free agency. Complicating matters, Bynum has not expressed much interest in staying in Orlando… or anywhere for that matter.

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There is a new NBA culture developing. It is not a good one for small markets like Orlando.

It started with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh taking power of their futures in Miami. And it is trying to continue with Carmelo Anthony in New York. The one wrench was Jeremy Lin. A man outside the CAA “family” who took the world by storm and upset the project Anthony envisioned in the Big Apple.

There is a lot in this thought from Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on why Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony just did not seem to work out:

What reasons would Anthony have to be anything but supportive of Lin, a player who had thrilled Knicks fans and could help the team return to its former glory?

The reasons are much deeper than they first appear and, according to sources close to Carmelo and the Knicks, have roots in the saga of LeBron James, The Decision, Melodrama and much more.

Anthony didn’t join the Knicks in 2011 to be just a player. He came to build a basketball family. Despite his messy departure from Denver, he came to New York envisioning an opportunity to create a refuge from the backstabbing and intrigue that plagues many teams. Lin, though by all accounts a great teammate, was seen as a potential threat to what Anthony was creating.

You only have to read the news to learn that those charged with helping an NBA player reach his potential — the players’ association, agents, coaches, teammates, even family and friends — are not always especially faithful about keeping the player’s best interests at heart. The multiple agendas can be conflicting and confusing, on and off the court. By the time they have been in the league a few years, most players have been ripped off or feel shortchanged by somebody or another. It’s a bad feeling.

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Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel does a really good job explaining the differences for Dwight Howard (and Andrew Bynum for that matter) if he becomes a free agent or signs an extension:

If Howard becomes a free agent in July 2013 and then signs with the team that has him at the end of the 2012-13 season:

The only way Howard can receive a new five-year contract is if he signs a free-agent deal with the team that has him at the end of the 2012-13 season.

In this scenario, he can receive annual raises of up to 7.5 percent of the salary in the first year of his new deal.

Howard’s maximum 2013-14 salary: $20,324,178
Howard’s maximum 2014-15 salary: $21,848,491
Howard’s maximum 2015-16 salary: $23,372,805
Howard’s maximum 2016-17 salary: $24,897,118
Howard’s maximum 2017-18 salary: $26,421,431
Total over those five seasons: $116,864,024

Analysis: Financially, this would be the best deal for Howard because of the extra season and the 7.5 percent annual raises. A fifth year also might seem more attractive than ever to Howard after he suffered his back injury last season.

If Howard extends his current contract with a team during the 2012-13 season:
In this scenario, under NBA rules, Howard only would be allowed to add three additional seasons to his current contract.

Those additional seasons would be the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. But he could receive up to 7.5 percent annual raises.

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So now that the Nets are out… what is next?

Since we have a little reprieve from trade stuff (not really), I dove into that question for Crossover Chronicles:

1) Dwight Howard will find it tough to be a Net.

While the dealings between the Magic and the Nets are dead with the Nets signing Brook Lopez to a four-year, $60 million maximum deal. This signing effectively wraps up the centerpiece of the Nets offer to the Magic until January 15. There is no indication that Orlando is going to hold onto Dwight Howard that long.

Howard really limited Orlando’s options in the open trading market by effectively saying he would only sign a long-term extension with Brooklyn. This made several teams hesitant to give up the kind of assets Orlando was looking for to reboot the team. In the end, there were no deals that were right for the franchise and both the Nets and the Magic moved on.

Be sure to read the rest over at Crossover Chronicles. We also have some coverage from the Vegas Summer League if you are interested.

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One of the pleasant surprises during Summer League has been the play of point guard Maalik Wayns. The rookie from Villanova turned heads with his ability to get into the paint and distribute. It was a big breath of fresh air for Magic fans and had them salivating.

Orlando did not get to have Wayns to itself though. After three strong games in the AirTran Airways Orlando Pro Summer League, Wayns took off for Las Vegas to play for the Golden State Warriors summer league team.

Either way, scouts raved about his play for the Magic and coaches were pretty certain he wrapped up a training camp spot somewhere. Magic fans hope it is in Orlando, but we will see. John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com chatted with him after Wednesday’s game:

Deflated on draft night when he surprisingly never heard his name called, Orlando Magic point guard Maalik Wayns has apparently played his way onto a NBA roster following three solid performances in the AirTran Airways Orlando Pro Summer League. 

That’s not just some whimsical wish of Wayns, who will leave the Magic on good terms and head to Las Vegas on Thursday to play for Golden State’s summer league team. It’s none other than Magic coach and former all-star point guard Mark Price who is endorsing the 6-foot-1 Villanova product as a NBA-ready player. 

“I think he’s done nothing but helped himself — not only for (the Magic), but in a lot of people’s eyes because he’s going somewhere else to play,” Price said of Wayns. “I think he’s played himself into getting a NBA job. I really like him a lot because he has a great heart and a great motor.”

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For Magic rookies Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn, this week will be incredibly instructive. Even for second-year players Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins, the Orlando Pro Summer League will be a crash course in basketball.

For a lot of young players, this is their first experience working with NBA coaching. And, really, this is their chance to get a lot of playing time and get a deeper evaluation playing an NBA-style game.

There is a long way to go, but Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel explains the opportunity in front of these young players this week in Orlando:

Orlando Magic draft picks Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn are about to endure an NBA rite of passage. They will play five exhibition games over the next five days in the 2012 AirTran Airways Orlando Pro Summer League. By the time it all ends, their legs should feel as wobbly as Jell-O.

But it should be worth it — to their new team and to themselves. Magic officials will learn more about the players they drafted, and Nicholson and O’Quinn will learn what they need to improve on before training camp begins in a couple of months.

Other notes before the Orlando Pro Summer League starts: Mark Price will be the team’s head coach with his brother Brent Price and Magic community ambassador Bo Outlaw serving as his assistants. The league is five days starting Monday at Amway Center. The games are closed to the public, but will be broadcast on NBATV. The Magic open up play against the Nets (figures) at 11 a.m.

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The inevitable is coming. It is not here yet, but it is coming.

Remember the good times. Thanks to long-time follower Adam Papageorgiou for linking to this video compilation:

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Funny how everyone is happy to be in Orlando… except for the one guy the Magic really need

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel looks into all the players happy to be in Orlando, and the one that painfully doesn’t:

Why is it that everybody but Dwight Howard seems to love the Orlando Magic?

Free agent point guard Jameer Nelson, after he reached a deal with the Magic on Thursday, tweeted this out:  “Glad to say I’ve reached an agreement with the Magic, . . . I’m blessed to have the best fans and a great organization supporting me!”

J.J. Redick, who has one non-guaranteed year left on his contract, told me this recently: “I tell people all the time that I would love to play my entire career in Orlando. Central Florida has become home for me, and I really, really do love playing for the Orlando Magic.”

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All-Star Weekend was fun, wasn’t it?

Orlando and Orange County thought it was too. In a big way. The event was a fantastic success, and, as Mark Schlueb of the Orlando Sentinel reports, brought an estimated $95 million to Orlando and Orange County. A good chunk of that came from players and media members, but also from visitors to the area for the event.

When the NBA All-Star Game came to Orlando in February, it left behind $95 million in economic impact, according to a study commissioned by the Orlando Magic and released Tuesday.

The All-Star Game and events in the days leading up to it were responsible for direct spending of $56.3 million and indirect spending of $38.8 million in Orange County, the study by Strategic Marketing Services and SportsEconomics concludes. Indirect spending is money re-spent as it circulates through the community.

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It takes three to tango in the rumored Magic-Nets deal. That third party? Restricted free agent Brook Lopez.

Brooklyn could match any offer Lopez receives but would then have to wait until December to trade him and get Lopez’s permission to trade him to Orlando. If you believe what Lopez’s brother Chris told Fred Kerber of the New York Post, it does not appear Lopez is so excited about a potential move to the Sunshine State:

Nets center Brook Lopez loves Disney World. But he does not want to play in Orlando.

“He really wants to see it through with the Nets and go to Brooklyn,” Chris Lopez, the center’s brother and advisor, told The Post yesterday. “We’re back in California and he understands the situation, but he wants to remain consistent: He wants to be a Brooklyn Net. He hasn’t played anywhere else and he likes the organization. He wants to be a part of it now that they’re going to be good.”

Lopez, the center, has been prominently mentioned in the Nets’ talks with Orlando about a potential deal for Dwight Howard. He would need to agree to a sign-and-trade, and Chris Lopez, said, “Honestly, I couldn’t answer that, it’s Brook’s call” about whether he would be a willing.

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The Magic are more ready than ever to trade Dwight Howard. Even with the Nets seemingly moving themselves out of the Dwight running (at least on their own… who knows what Billy King could get a third team to do to help them out). Howard is getting boxed in. And Orlando wants to trade him at this point.

More than anything, Orlando management is sick of Howard’s antics. Yes, this is a link to a Ping report. But I think Ping might be on with this one. The Magic franchise has been ripped apart by Howard’s indecision and wavering.

Pingalore has also learned that the Magic are ready to deal Howard sooner than later, and, according to sources, the Magic are “fed up with the antics of Howard.”

A person very close to the situation who did not want to be identified said, “This nonsense is a direct result of Howard not listening to his representation.”  The source added, “If Howard would of stayed the course before the trade deadline and took a trade, good people in the Magic organization would still be employed.”

So, um yeah. What Pingalore’s source seems to be suggesting (again, I repeat SUGGESTING) is that if Howard had been traded at the deadline as planned, the Stan Van Gundy mess would never have happened and the team would not have had the massive overhaul it has gone through. Not that Otis Smith would still be around.

Dwight Howard has been a wrecking ball through the organization. Orlando is trying to end the destruction at this point.

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Well, we were waiting for another twist in the Dwight Howard saga and here it is. Not only did Howard try to go to the Players Association and pursue legal action, he nearly went to blows with his co-captain and friend Jameer Nelson at a practice late in the season, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reports:

Howard wants to land in Brooklyn and, after realizing that a trade to the Nets was unlikely, he contacted the National Basketball Players Association to explore his legal options against the Magic. He claims that members of the organization “blackmailed” him and threatened him into opting in to the final year of his contract, but sources close to the situation say there isn’t much evidence to support Howard’s claims. Howard personally contacted the union last week, asking if there was any way they could facilitate a trade to Brooklyn or nullify his opt-in to make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. It’s unlikely that the union will take legal action on behalf of Howard, according to sources close to the situation.

This is just the latest in a string of events that have caused many within the Magic organization to grow tired of Howard. Several of Howard’s teammates are hoping for his departure as well. Toward the end of last season, Howard came close to a physical altercation with teammate Jameer Nelson at the Magic’s practice facility. Howard was sidelined with a back injury at the time, but nearly came to blows with Nelson for unknown reasons, according to sources. The two players had to be separated.

If there was any thought of the relationship getting fixed, I would say that is out the window. The Magic will begin serious trade discussions now… if they had not done so already.

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Dwight Howard met face-to-face with new general manager Rob Hennigan in Southern California and gave what we all hope is a final decision. Howard told Hennigan he wants to be traded, preferrably to the Brooklyn Nets it appears. And, with that answer in hand, it appears the Magic are finally ready to move on and trade Howard.

But there had to be one more twist to this crazy plot.

Howard reportedly contacted the Players Association about pursuing legal action against the Magic hoping to become a free agent this offseason. This is a saga that is nearing an end but will surely have some hiccups on the way.

Here is the important thing to remember, as the I noted over at Crossover Chronicles:

The problem for Howard is that the Magic still hold the strings in this matter. Howard opted in to the final year of his contract and is obligated to play out the final year of his deal. He does not have a no-trade clause and Orlando can send him wherever the team wants.

This is a pure power play from Howard as he hopes to get what he wants — a trade to Brooklyn. The basis for his decision to opt in was reportedly the Magic told him they were going to trade him to Houston or Los Angeles (Lakers) — two locations Howard was not willing to sign long term. His fear of potentially losing out on the maximum contract he can receive from a place he wants to play and his general indecision about leaving Orlando and being perceived as “the bad guy.” Of course, the Magic had Howard sleep on his decision to opt in before he signed the papers on that fateful March day.

A lot is at play here.

A lot is ineede at play here. The Magic control Howard’s immediate future and they will get what they feel is the best deal for them. The important thing is: The Magic are moving on.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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