The Price Paid For Trading A Superstar


Amway Center
The Orlando Magic will have to get use to less sell-outs this season. The Amway Center might get a little chilly come December-February. (Photo Credit to the Orlando Sentinel)

There is no denying that Dwight Howard is a superstar and superstars only come around every so often. Teams are rarely willing to trade their superstar unless it’s for another superstar or a group of solid players and draft picks. That being said, I have no words for what took place last night. Unlike baseball, basketball’s developmental league hasn’t made young players better. NBA owners and general managers don’t have years to wait around for young talent to develop and flourish.

Jobs are on the line and immediate results are demanded.

Very few players come into the league and make an instant impact in the league as a rookie. Few become stars and even fewer become superstars.

Almost every team in the league has a designated “franchise” player. But we all know who the “franchise” players are in the league: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant (he is at the tail-end), Carmelo Anthony and possibly a few others (Chris Paul, Deron Williams, etc.). Some players are trying to transition themselves from star to superstar. Some of those players are: Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, etc.

Why did I bother to go through all that “nonsense” listed above? Well, the Orlando Magic made a trade yesterday that involved the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets. It also included their superstar: Dwight Howard.

Very few teams come out on top in a trade after trading their superstar. Last year, the Nuggets traded [Carmelo] Anthony to the New York Knicks. In return, the Nuggets received Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, and Timofey Mozgov. The Nuggets became a more complete because of that trade.

That’s a positive example.

Here’s a negative example: The Magic trading Dwight Howard for Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington, essentially. Yes, they will get a first-round pick from each Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Denver, but those picks will never be lottery picks at least not in the near future. Three teams got better and one team got increasingly worse. They would have been better off playing out the season with Howard on the roster and then letting him choose whether to re-sign with the Magic or sign with another team in the offseason.

But this deal made zero sense and cents. If you’re a season-ticket holder, are you happy at this moment? If you’re Jack Nicholson, you’re ecstatic. But if you’re Denzel Washington or Walt Disney, you’re as happy as one of cast members in the movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre“. I just don’t understand how you can make that trade and not feel like you should still have a job? Still having a job should make you feel sick to your stomach if you’re the owner or general manager in Orlando. They could have had Brook Lopez and Marshon Brooks from the Brooklyn Nets, but that deal wasn’t good enough for them.

Oh well. The decision they made yesterday sold their fate down a very long river. They went through a similar situation about 15 years ago when Shaquille O’Neal walked from Orlando to Los Angeles. To make matters worse, the Magic traded Ryan Anderson earlier in July.

They are banking on getting a high draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and make a splash next year in free agency. Maybe they could persuade Chris Paul to leave the Los Angeles Clippers?

Doubtful, but crazier things have happened.

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