NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: Moe Harkless of St. John's Red Storm walks on stage after he was selected number fifteen overall by the Philadelphia 76ers during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
While many will criticize the deal the Orlando Magic got in return for Dwight Howard, it's not nearly as bad as it looks.
On Friday, the Orlando Magic officially dealt Dwight Howard, sending Chris Duhon and Jason Richardson with him while getting Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from the Denver Nuggets and Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from the Philadelphia 76ers in return.
The Orlando Magic have been blasted for not receiving enough back in the deal.
And that just doesn't make sense.
You're never going to get equal value when trading a superstar.
In the NBA, cap room and and lottery luck are the best ways to build a team.
If the Magic took on Bynum or Iguodala, they could have been left with nothing anyway. Bynum is in the final year of his deal while Iguodala has an Early Termination Option after next season.
Plus, the Magic couldn't get it done with Dwight Howard and their supporting cast and moving from Howard to Bynum or Iguodala would be an obvious downgrade.
Now if you believe Houston, with their three rookies and top-4 protected pick of the Toronto Raptors could have presented a deal, you may have a point. However, if Houston's original reported deal, which included their rookies, several picks, including Toronto's, Kevin Martin and Chandler Parsons, was actually on the table, a deal would have been made before Houston's rookies were signed, probably before the draft.
The other legitimate gripe with Orlando's deal is that it took on Afflalo, who's owed $7,750,000 in each of the next three seasons and Harrington, who's owed $6,687,400 next season, $7,148,600 over the 2013-14 season and $7,609,800 during the 2014-15 season.
The Magic clearly like Afflalo, who improved his scoring last year and has been a solid defender in the past. In Harrington's case, the last two years are partially guaranteed ($3,574,300 in 2013-14 and $3,804,900 in 2014-15).
The Magic currently have $46,076,066 committed in 2013-14, so they are clearly looking towards the summer of 2014.
The Magic owe $29,276,740 in salary in the 2014-15 season, but that doesn't include Harrington's buyout or the final year of Jameer Nelson's contract, which is only partially guaranteed ($4 million).
That's not including partially guaranteed contracts or players they have options on, like rookie center Kyle O'Quinn.
So, that near $30 million the Magic owe in 2014-15 could easily turn into $20 million, giving them room to potentially offer two max contracts to loaded class of 2014 (which could include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh among others).
Of course, that doesn't include the draft picks Orlando will make in the next two years. The picks they got in the deal may not net much -- it's difficult to even find role players late in the first round -- but their own two picks could net them a couple of big time prospects.
Team those prospects with the young nucleus Orlando has now and give them the cap room to offer two max contracts and Orlando's rebuilding effort may not take as long as many believe.