This article was inspired by Andres Alvarez’s article posted at http://wagesofwins.com “Do the Orlando Magic Owe Dwight Howard Anything?”. (Note that I am not quite sure how to punctuate that at the end.) Andres’s viewpoint is that Dwight Howard has been grossly underpaid because of the NBA’s salary cap rules, and that the amount he is overpaid is a substantially greater amount than the “worth” of Dwight’s protests. To a degree, I agree with him, but I believe that there is another side to this story.
Dwight Howard has made it very clear that he wants to go to the Brooklyn Nets. Recently, he has gone so far as to say that the Nets are the only team on his list. For Rob Hennigan and the Magic, this presents a serious problem in that they lose a lot of leverage in their negotiations. Because Dwight has said that the Nets are the only team on his list, it is implied that the Nets are the only team to whom Dwight can be guaranteed to sign an extension. (That probably wasn’t the best wording, and I apologize.) If a team is uncertain whether the star player they are acquiring will play more than a year for them, especially when the chance that he leaves is as high as it is for Howard, they will definitely offer a “less lucrative” package of assets in exchange for that star. Whether or not that package is actually less lucrative depends on what that package is; NBA front offices are well-known for making less than ideal decisions. However, the way the NBA is now, it is probable that the two sides would each have a similar perception of the package’s value. I’m sorry, I’m on a bit of a tangent; what I’m trying to say that, at the very least, the Magic will think that they are getting less than the highest value if they try to trade Dwight Howard to a team other than the Nets because it is very possible that Dwight will not sign an extension with a team other than the Nets, and that those teams will offer a package more in line with one year of Dwight Howard instead of five or six. In essence, the Magic have to give in to the moaning and groaning if they are to make what they perceive to be the best basketball team decision.
If you found that article to be completely bungled and incoherent, I don’t blame you; sometimes, it is very hard for me to get my point across. Starting on Wednesday, I will start to do draft grades-style comments on every significant NBA transactions as they are finalized. Thank you for reading, and please comment.