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The Dwight Howard Saga Is Now Officially Downright Silly

Posted by Craig Parsons on 7/23/2012 6:23:56 PM

Online betting players have had their eye on the Dwight Howard saga throughout the offseason, even if they tried to avoid it because this has been one of the biggest stories in sports in the last little while. Howard has flip-flopped numerous times on his stance with his team, saying that he wants to stay and then changing his mind, and now it has been revealed that he is going to be a free agent next summer, regardless of what the Magic do with him during the season.

To recap a long and brutal story, Orlando has been trying to persuade Howard to sign a long-term extension, but the All-Star center has been very non-committal, to say the least, so the Magic don’t have much choice other than to trade him, or risk getting nothing like Cleveland did for LeBron James and Toronto did with Chris Bosh. Howard had a chance to put all this to an end, but he decided to take a player option and stay in Orlando one more year, then accused the Magic of lying to try and keep him. Had he simply declined to stay with the team, Howard would be a free agent and this would have been over.

The Magic seem content to let Howard sit until they get the deal that is right for them, and it seems like they have three major options: Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston, who emptied out their team to try and make cap space for Howard, and then they signed Jeremy Lin in an effort to draw the big man there. Brooklyn, who will be a popular pick among NBA betting players next year if Howard joins the team, re-signed Deron Williams and then traded for Joe Johnson to give themselves an All-Star backcourt.

The team that makes the most sense is the Lakers, who went out and picked up Steve Nash to team with Kobe Bryant in an experienced backcourt featuring two former MVPs and future Hall of Fame players. The Lakers have had more All-Star centers than any team in the history of league, like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal, but Howard’s problems with O’Neal could be making his hesitant to join the purple and gold. The two have battled over the “Superman” nickname since Howard really started to come into his own, and O’Neal hasn’t missed any chances to say something negative about Howard, who may not want to join the Lakers as it would be following in O’Neal’s footsteps: remember, O’Neal was also drafted by the Magic before leaving for the City of Angels.

However, the Lakers are probably the best fit for him and the team will do everything in their power to land him. They’ll need a defensive stopper in the paint as Nash and Bryant are getting older and can’t stop anyone from driving into the lane and even though Andrew Bynum can alter shots, he doesn’t have Howard’s defensive instincts. Howard is also limited by what he can do on the offensive end of the floor, but with Nash running the show, the pick-and-roll is always an option. He’ll get the attention that he seems to crave in Los Angeles and with Nash and Bryant on the downside of their careers, the team will belong to Howard in the next year or two.

Whoever tries to sign Howard has to now deal with the news that he is going to test the free-agent market regardless of which team he signs with, so someone could be risking a lot to get Howard for a season and given how he has acted throughout this process, is he worth the headache? The Lakers are probably the only team that could take the risk as they have to win right now, not only because of the age of their backcourt, but because they’re the Lakers and their fanbase isn’t that patient. The Nets have sunk a lot into Williams and Johnson and they may be more willing to wait for Howard to become a free agent, then convince him, while the Rockets don’t have much of a choice and will throw the wildest package they can at Orlando, then try to keep Howard.

For all the fuss caused by James’ “Decision”, he at least made a choice and stuck with it, it was just the execution of the answer that left some angry. Howard has been playing with everyone involved for more than a year now and it has to end soon, although he will help some team’s sports betting odds.

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