I feel like the Orlando Magic are in a similar situation to the one the Raptors faced when it became clear to most right-thinking individuals that they couldn’t surround Chris Bosh with garbage and expect the team to win anything. The obvious difference is that Dwight Howard is indisputably a top-five NBA player, while Chris Bosh is… I don’t know, is he even considered to be a top-40 player at this point?
Regardless, not only will I not think less of Dwight Howard if he signs with another team when he’s a free agent after next season, a part of me will think less of him if he doesn’t. Once Magic General Manager Otis Smith figured out a way to trade Rashard Lewis’ second-worst contract for Gilbert Arenas’ worst contract, I became convinced that he’s one of the worst NBA execs in the league — regardless of his team’s record.
It seems as though it’s not a matter of if Dwight Howard will end up as a Laker, it’s a matter of when. Andrew Bynum might be the second-best pure center in the NBA and his contract has a team option that would enable the Magic to hang onto him for an extra season — as far as I’m concerned, they’re nuts if they don’t make that trade. If they don’t, they’re almost certainly going to lose Dwight in a similar fashion to the way the Raptors lost Bosh.
The Magic don’t have much in the way of specific motivation to win most of their remaining six regular season games. They’re four games ahead of the fifth seed and four-and-a-half games behind the third seed so their playoff position is pretty much solidified. The Raptors and Magic split their previous two matchups, but the Raptors won by four while the Magic won by 40.
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon will both be game-time decisions tonight.
Orlando: Gilbert Arenas will miss today’s game with the notorious “flu-like symptoms” while J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon and Daniel Orton are probably out for the season.
1. Do you think Dwight Howard deserves some MVP consideration in spite of the Magic not being legitimate contenders?
2. Will Gilbert Arenas play out the rest of his career like an Eddy Curry punchline?
3. In eight starts with the Raptors, Jerryd Bayless has averaged 33 minutes, 15.9 points and 7.5 assists while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. Why shouldn’t the Raptors let him take over the starting point guard role next season?
4. Considering how much he’s fallen off recently, do you think Sonny Weems will even be in the NBA next season?
5. Based on this photo, doesn’t it look like Stan Van Gundy has lost some weight?
Start time: 6:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jerryd Bayless, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Orlando: Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Brandon Bass, Dwight Howard
I asked my wife to recommend today’s pregame song and she picked “Hot n’ Fun” by N.E.R.D. and Nelly Furtado. I don’t think it has any relevance to this game, but Nelly Furtado is hot and the song is fun, so why not?