Hello Orlando, the team with a close, recent relationship with the Washington Wizards, for obvious reasons vis-à-vis the Arenas-Lewis trade, but otherwise, they are in the same division, the NBA’s Southeast. And at that, Orlando has won 10 out of the last 12 meetings, both Washington wins coming in early 2010 (Jan. 8 in D.C. and Feb. 5 in Orlando) with a Wizards starting lineup of Randy Foye, Caron Butler, Mike Miller, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood each time. Otherwise, Magic dominates Wizards. For today’s 3-on-3 we have Eddy Rivera (@erivera7) from the Orlando Magic ESPN TrueHoop blog MagicBasketball.net, and both Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from Truth About It.net. Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) With Dwight Howard in the balance, how anxious should Magic fans be over the state of their franchise? Will there be any solace in what they might eventually get for him in a trade?
MOBLEY: Magic fans should be feeling anxious. They went to the Finals with Shaq, lost to Hakeem and the Rockets and then lost Shaq to L.A., then gained Dwight Howard, went back to the NBA Finals, lost to Kobe and the Lakers. Before the season, when it looked like Howard was going to be traded to the Lakers for Bynum and Odom or Gasol, there were still reasons for Orlando fans to be encouraged. Now all trade talks have slowed significantly, and threat of Howard walking for nothing looms large.
RIVERA: Well, the anxiety level will be at stratospheric levels until Dwight Howard makes a decision. The only consolation is that Magic fans already went through this exercise with Shaq in 1996. There’s a legitimate concern, with ownership eyeing veterans in any Howard trade, that the Orlando Magic will take the wrong path in trying to reload rather than rebuild.
WEIDIE: Howard will be gone, he has sent about a million messages indicating that he wants to cultivate his ego in New York or Los Angeles. Magic fans should move on to the next stage of coping and hope for the best in return. To perhaps help them, I’ve come up with a four team trade between the Magic, Wizards, Kings and Nets. It might not be perfect according to cap-ologists, and fans of each team could surely find reasons to dislike, but my biased opinion doesn’t think it’s bad for any team. Here goes:
> NEW JERSEY NETS GET: Dwight Howard & Quentin Richardson
[give up B. Lopez, M. Okur, A. Morrow & four 1st rounders: theirs in '12, '14, '16 & Houston's in '12]
> ORLANDO MAGIC GET: JaVale McGee, Mehmet Okur, Anthony Morrow, Washington’s 2012 1st rounder (unprotected), New Jersey’s 2014 & 2016 1st rounders
[give up D. Howard, Q. Richardson]
> WASHINGTON WIZARDS GET: Brook Lopez, DeMarcus Cousins, Francisco Garcia (and either Houston’s 2012 1st rounder via New Jersey or New Jersey’s own 2012 1st rounder; better pick goes to Kings).
[give up J. Crawford, A. Blatche, J. McGee, 2012 1st rounder]
> SACRAMENTO KINGS GET: Damion James, Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche (and either Houston’s 2012 1st rounder via New Jersey or New Jersey’s own 2012 1st rounder; worse pick goes to Wizards – NOTE: Sacramento doesn’t have its own 2012 1st rounder, it belongs to Cleveland).
[give up D. Cousins, F. Garcia]
#2) Speaking of Howard, JaVale McGee had two stellar, “is he finally coming around mentally” games against Boston. How does he do against Howard in this game? Fly high or float back to earth? [NOTE: via Basketball-Reference.com, their all-time head-2-head stats are very ugly for McGee]
MOBLEY: McGee’s confidence has to be at an all-time high after averaging 16.5 points and 14 rebounds against Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics. Dominating against a feisty but aging Garnett is one thing, but attempting that same domination against a 26-year old center who is in his prime and much stronger is something entirely different. Unless Dwight Howard gets into early foul trouble, I don’t see tonight being for pleasant for McGee–and there’s no shame in that at all.
RIVERA: Float back to earth. There’s dealing with the frontline of the Boston Celtics, then there’s dealing with Howard. Against Howard, JaVale McGee is going to have his hands full doing anything on the court. Avoid foul trouble? Block shots? Get rebounds? Score points? Good luck trying to do all that against one of the best players in the NBA.
WEIDIE: McGee is going to get bullied by Howard, no doubt, but he will prove something if he doesn’t back down. Look, no one is expecting JaVale to go out and best Howard or even dominate in one particular area. The key to true progress will be McGee staying out of foul trouble, keeping an active and positive attitude, and making an occasional showing of the skills he’s been known to influence games with.
#3) Which GM would you rather be right now, Ernie Grunfeld or Otis Smith?
MOBLEY: I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather be Ernie Grunfeld. Even if Howard re-signs, Smith still has to put a team around him, and he hasn’t exactly excelled at that as of late. If Howard leaves, the failure of the Rashard Lewis/Gilbert Arenas trade will be brought up again. Grunfeld has John Wall, he can amnesty Lewis next season, there’s a strong draft class coming up which his team figures to be a part of, and he got a vote of confidence from his owner yesterday.
RIVERA: Otis Smith. No, Smith’s track record as of late has been borderline comical, but he still has a chance to re-sign Howard. Even if Smith’s chance of retaining Howard is slim to none, that trumps Ernie Grunfeld’s situation with the Washington Wizards even though it has the makings of being one of the most promising rebuilding jobs in the league.
WEIDIE: Call Ernie Grunfeld the Telflon Don, and who wouldn’t want to play that role? During his tenure with the Wizards, Grunfeld inconsequentially can do no wrong, although he has made some strides to right a past off-course ship that more catered to a previous ownership. With Otis Smith… he’s likely now peddling hoards of Amway products to family and friends to make up for money lost in the Gilbert Arenas for Rashard Lewis trade, including some to Amway vitamins Arenas himself, perhaps. Needless to say I would not want to be that guy.