It is impossible to not be compared to Shaq if you are Dwight Howard. First off you took his nickname “Superman”, and now you’re trying to leave Orlando for a bigger market team. Sure, Howard is the best center in a league that has seen the center position go with the wind. Who does he really have to compete with? Jermaine O’neal, Andrew Bynum? He has averaged 18.7 points in his career. Shaq averaged 23.7 and most of his lows were when he was injured or like a hundred years old. He also went against Olajuwan, Ewing, Mutombo, Robinson, & Mourning.
Howard will surely be a hall of famer, there’s no doubt about that, he is a great player. It is scary for the Orlando Magic to have to try to start from scratch if Howard does leave. He has given his agent permission to discuss deals with the Nets, Lakers, and the Mavs. I can understand why the Magic’s owner said he wouldn’t want to trade his franchise player, but why not get something for him? I know it is tough because he will most likely not sign an extension with any sub-par team, but at the very least you can get a fill in and get some draft picks.
Even Shaq has said that it would be a ‘travesty’ to lose Dwight, and they don’t really like each other. He thinks Orlando should try their best to entice him to stay by offering him the max contract, and bringing in players around him. Jameer Nelson & Reddick cannot win you championships as your #2 in this league, it’s too tough now. Plus, Orlando can offer him the biggest deal due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. If he goes to a new team, he will not be able to make as much until his contract is re-negotiated down the road. I wouldn’t want to play for your Oompa Loompa coach either, but at least you are they key player on a playoff-contending team, with the assets to bring in even more help.
At this point I don’t think anyone knows what to say about the Celtics. Two weeks ago they were heading straight to the grave. But maybe we spoke too soon. Showing signs of life, the C’s picked up their third straight win last night, beating the Magic 91-83 in dramatic fashion. With Pierce leading the way, the Celtics overcame a 27 point deficit to hand the Magic an even more embarrassing loss than earlier this week’s 31 point massacre. E’Twaun Moore was huge off the bench, putting in 16 of his own, including a clutch three pointer down the stretch. He’s been my pick since day one. The kid has a big future in the NBA, just give him some time to develop. Oh, and in case you forgot, this turnaround has been without Rondo and Allen, making it even more confusing as to what’s going on with the Celts! By the way, congrats to Ray and his wife for welcoming in their fourth son, Wystan Ryan Allen, Wednesday night.
Anyways, the team has talent. That’s been obvious since day one. The surprise came when the talent didn’t mesh during games. The Celts have showed signs of brilliance, but seemed to struggle in finishing games out down the stretch. Granted, digging yourself a 27 point hole isn’t great either, but have they turned it around? Two weeks ago they would have fought back to within a few points, had the momentum on their side, and then with 5 minutes left let the fire go out and lose by double digits, letting us all down. We knew they were a better team than they were showing us. It’s still early in the short season but if anything, the past three games have given hope to Celtics fans. Maybe the flame is still burning on Causeway Street.
Talk about beating the odds. With both Rondo and Allen sidelined with injuries, an undermanned Celtics team left it all out on the court to win BIG against an 11-4 Orlando Magic squad last night at the Garden. The Celts held the Magic to just 56 points, while putting up 87 themselves. Struggling out of the gates this year, the Celtics have sneakily been solid defensively, ranking third in the league while holding their opponents to an average of 88.3 points. On the other hand, our woes come in the form of offense, where the C’s are ranked 26th in points scored, averaging around 89 per game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re not going to compete with the best teams in the NBA when you can’t score.
Luckily the C’s proved me wrong last night, as their defense shone through. Sticking out were Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic, as both stepped into starting spots and held their own defensively while also putting up a combined 15 points. If anything, last night’s win was a big mental boost for the team which has definitely been suffering harsh criticism over the past few weeks and rightfully so. The team has gone in spurts of brilliance but never quite long enough to hold out for the big wins. Example, coming within a point of Chicago in the 4th quarter just to watch Rose and crew rip our hearts out down the stretch. Anyways, there is talent on this team, no doubt. We showed last night that we can compete with the best of them. Throw Allen and Rondo back into the mix and continue blending in the newcomers with the team’s historic chemistry, we’ll be alright.
With Christmas right around the corner, the NBA is definitely back. You can’t change the channel or put on the news without hearing something about basketball. It’s great. Unfortunately, as we wait for training camps to open, most of the news has been just rumors. Regardless, it keeps everyone on their toes so here’s some more.
Let’s start off close to home. It looks like the C’s have sent Big Baby to Orlando for Brandon Bass in a sign-and-trade. I liked Baby because of the vibes he brought, but let’s be honest. The guy is not a great player. He’s far too inconsistent. I hate to say it but I remember times where I’d find myself yelling “NOOO” when he went to shoot. On the other hand, Bass is young, up and coming threat that can shoot the ball better, rebound, and is all around more athletic than Baby. The Celts definitely came out on top of this deal.
With all the hype of the Lakers wanting Howard once the Paul deal was finished, this one kind of slipped through the cracks. Last night, Dwight Howard met with the Nets without the Magic knowing. Because his current team did not know, the meeting was in violation of the NBA’s tampering rules. Results of the meeting were to have Howard ask Orlando to trade him to the Nets Friday morning. We’ll see how that works out for Superman. The Magic, instead, may be filing tampering charges against the Nets and Rockets. Whoops.
Orlando Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide has decided to “resign” after 20 years with the team. I put the word resign in quotations because he probably would have been asked to leave anyways. He drunk dialed Dwight Howard over the weekend to try to convince him to stay with his team, just like an 18 year old guy trying to get some on a Friday night (or any guy for that matter). If a belligerent, 50 year old man calling you up at 2 in the morning to talk about his feelings doesn’t get you to stay, I don’t know what will. Oh wait yes I do, get him a better team around him. Vince Carter, Hedo Turkoglu, and Gay-Gay Reddick are not going to win you championships. In fact, it’s not even going to make you the best team in Florida. There is probably a 7% chance of him staying in Orlando, and that’s only if he breaks an ankle and no one wants him anymore. They will never make it out of the East with the Heat, Celts, and Knicks still around (assuming Carmelo has stopped sucking, and the Celtics sign more than the 6 players we have right now). So moral of the story, don’t drunk dial other dudes, it never turns out for the better.
Dwight Howard may be following in Shaq’s footsteps by leaving Orlando. It does not look like the Magic are in the running for any big name players thus far. This means that Howard will probably not sign an extension with them beyond this shortened season. That’s how Shaq felt after the 1996 season, when he left the Magic to play for the Lakers. The Magic didn’t get anything for him because they decided to let him become a free agent rather than trying to trade him and get some sort of compensation before it was too late. The next season, their record dropped to almost .500 and their head coach was fired. I can only pray that this is the case next season so that Stan Van Gundy is out of the league forever! (and hopefully he takes his idiot announcer brother with him)
However they do not want to end up being like the Cavaliers last season and losing 26 games straight because they were too proud to trade their franchise player before it was too late. They need to go out and get someone. The Lakers have Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to trade if they needed to if he wanted to play with Kobe. They could also send him to the New Jersey Nets to play with Deron Williams. That would probably be the best scenario because they would receive rising star Brook Lopez and 2 first round picks. Howard needs a guard that can get him the ball anywhere on the court, Nelson just isn’t cutting it.