Wednesday, December 28, 2011 Stein: What will Magic want for Dwight?

Marc Stein reports on trade discussions between the Hawks and Magic regarding Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, and Josh Smith:
Sources told that the aforementioned Hawks, meanwhile, engaged Orlando in trade talks for Howard earlier this month with an offer believed to be headlined by $124 million guard Joe Johnson and swingman Josh Smith. You have to figure that the Magic, though, would insist on Al Horford if such discussions ever got serious.

The Hawks are not on Howard's short list of preferred trade destinations alongside the Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, even though Atlanta is his hometown. That's presumably because Howard wants no part of Atlanta's perpetually unsettled ownership situation. The Hawks nonetheless took the risk of pursuing Howard anyway and, according to sources, felt like they were making some semblance of progress before the Magic shut down talks.
Otis Smith just traded Brandon Bass for Glen Davis so I'm not quite willing to figure that he would insist on Al Horford. Especially considering this paragraph from Stein's report:
Sources familiar with Orlando's thinking say that a picture of what the Magic will ultimately expect in return for their anchor has indeed begun to emerge, telling this week that Orlando would not hold out for youth and draft picks as the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were ordered to do in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The Magic, sources say, would instead prefer to bring back multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive.
This may be an instance where losing a franchise player in free agency and getting nothing in return benefits a franchise in the long term.


Jerry Hinnen said...

Bret, assuming Howard won't agree to an extension pre-trade, is it worth pulling the trigger anyway if it means getting out from under Johnson's contract? Smith or Horford would be an expensive price to pay for nothing more than a guaranteed few months of Howard and (I guess) better odds of signing him once he hits free agency, but the benefit of getting JJ off the books right now seems massive.

I say yes (twice over) if Smith, no if Horford ... but it's close either way, maybe yes to both.

Bret LaGree said...

Since I'm not sure the Hawks should or will be able to re-sign Josh Smith after the 2012-13 season, they absolutely should do a Smith/Johnson for Howard deal, if that's really an option.

They should do Horford/Johnson for Howard, as well, but that deal would necessitate more successful post-trade moves to vault the team into contention.

I don't think Smith/Horford/Johnson for Howard makes much sense as it would cost the team's top two trade assets and likely only encourage Howard to test free agency rather than commit to the Hawks.

Bronnt said...

This is another area where the Hawks' lack of depth hurts them. They don't have kind of young talent to send out in this trade anymore. A guy like a Jordan Crawford or a even an Acie Law can be more attractive as a trade piece than they are as a bench player. Zaza Pachulia is the only bench player we have signed beyond this season.

This also could make balancing out the salaries fairly difficult. I'm assuming if we sent Josh and JJ, we'd have to take back Turkoglu's deal. Of course, that's reasonable in comparison. I need to run the numbers, but I'm curiosu to see what this would do for Atlanta's payroll in the next 3-4 years, assuming Dwight does not resign.

Joe Johnson/Josh Smith for Dwight/Turkoglu is a slam dunk for Atlanta, but I wonder what else this deal might entail. There's ways to make it bad for Atlanta, especially since they'd only have 5 players under contract for next year. I guess that makes me a bit nervous.