Stay The Course Orlando

My colleague here at Crossover Chronicles, John Karalis, would have you believe the Orlando Magic should trade AP/Daylife.comAll-Star center Dwight Howard after another early exit from the NBA playoffs.

He couldn’t be further from the truth and here is why.

How often does a dominant center like Howard come around? Rarely. Howard has the size, the skill-set any team would want to have patroling the paint. Orlando would have to be brain dead to consider trading such a player.

First, Howard is a franchise player. He is Orlando. To part with him, Orlando would lose their main weapon to remain a title contender in the NBA. Without him, the Magic will be relegated to the NBA cellar and not have an identity.

Second, do not let history repeat itself. The Magic have been though this before with Shaquille O’Neal. Then they had one of, if not the most dominant center ever to play in the NBA. Instead, O’Neal left to the Los Angeles Lakers where he was part of one of the league’s best dynasties ever while Orlando was left in pieces.

Third, the fan backlash would be immense. After going though this before with O’Neal, fans would not want to suffer another loss of a marquee player, and may show their displeasure by not filling seats and purchasing season tickets thus hurting Orlando financially.

Fourth, will the organization and fans endure another rebuilding process? I think not. Look how long it took for Orlando to recover from the departure of O’Neal. Years. Now with that being said, I’m sure Orlando would probably get great players in return like the Denver Nuggets did when they traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. But can any other player replace the value and impact of a caliber player such as Howard? The answer is an emphatic “no”.

Finally, with Howard, Orlando will be able to use him as a player to attract high quality free agents. What player would not want to play with Howard?With him alone, the Magic will always be a contender and players want a chance to chase an NBA ring. Howard presents that opportunity.

If anything needs to change in the Magic organization, head coach Stan Van Gundy could be a worthy candidate or, even better, GM Otis Smith. Smith really struck out with re-acquiring Hedo Turkoglu who could not recapture his performance with Orlando his first time around with the team. Furthermore, trading Marcin Gortat and Vince Carter might not have been the best idea either. Even worse, the Gilbert Arenas trade didn’t pan out as Smith may have expected.

So stay the course Orlando. There’s no need to push the proverbial eject button. Re-tool, let unproductive players go such as Turkoglu and keep moving forward while not looking back.

Howard is a proven commodity for Orlando and there is more to risk by trading him than keeping him.