With the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, the Orlando Magic front office is wringing its hands trying to figure out what to do. Do they stand pat and hope that they can convince Dwight Howard to sign when free agency begins, running the risk of getting nothing for him like with LeBron James with Cleveland two years ago or even Shaquille O'Neal back in 1996? Do they placate Howard by getting another playmaker via a trade and hope that a deep playoff run will help keep Howard in Orlando? Or do they pull the trigger on Howard now and get something, whether its draft picks or other players.
Right now, Orlando seems to be exploring every possible option before looking to trade Howard, according to reports. In an article posted on ESPN.com by Marc Stein and Chris Broussard, it addresses the fact that Magic owner Richard DeVos wants to keep Howard on the Magic
The Magic will thus have to decide Thursday if they can bear to keep Howard past the deadline, as owner Richard DeVos wants, and expose themselves to the possibility that the 26-year-old could walk away for nothing in July -- a la Shaquille O'Neal in the summer of 1996 -- or make the best possible trade they can make this week at the 11th hour.
Magic officials have been telling teams for weeks that they intend to keep Howard at DeVos' behest. The thinking there, sources said, is that the Magic still like their chances of changing Howard's mind -- believing that a successful playoff run or his deep roots in the Orlando community will ultimately make it hard to leave -- better than anything they can get in a trade.
DeVos must have a lot of confidence that what happened with O'Neal in 1996 won't happen again in 2012 with Howard. If Howard does bolt for a different team, it won't be as devastating a loss as James was to Cleveland, but it'll still keep the Magic out of the contender's conversation for quite awhile.