*Disclaimer* I was not aware of the Dwight Howard Open Thread that was posted when I wrote this, but I couldn't let my article go to waste. So please enjoy, and leave your comments below!
With the Suns recent roster turnover drama in full swing, I feel it is time to take a step back, relax, and turn our attention to something a little different (while also still having some effect on us if the Lakers get their way again).
The "Dwight-Mare Saga" (as it has been coined on ESPN) has become increasingly bizarre with its latest developments. If you haven't noticed the latest trade reportedly offered to the Magic involved Howard becoming a Laker, Bynum moving to Cleveland, and the Magic receiving Anderson Varejao and three future first round picks. On top of that, it has been reported that Howard is willing to sign an extension with the Lakers if he ends up in L.A., although it has also been released via Howard's agent that he isn't willing to sign an extension with any team (even Brooklyn).
Now I can almost hear everyone saying, "I know all this, now tell me why you think the Magic should keep Howard." Well then, let's get started.
As easy as it is to hate Howard right now for his actions, I don't believe people can honestly say they would hate him in a season or two. Why? Because he has charisma, just like Shaq did when he left Orlando almost two decades ago. And most people love Shaq today (even if you gave up an All-Star high-flying SF). If Howard does end up moving out of Orlando like Shaq, then most people will forgive him, if he ends up in staying in Orlando I wouldn't be surprised to see Magic fans slowly getting back behind Howard after all he is a tremendous talent that fans love to see (but that doesn't mean it is absolute).
Secondly, the trade return for Howard has dropped significantly over the past few weeks. At the beginning of the talks between Brooklyn and Orlando it was reported the Magic would receive Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and three future first-round picks. The combination of Lopez and Humphries would help ease the loss of Howard because Lopez is a force offensively (if he is healthy) and Humphries is a monster on the glass. Plus the addition of a young player like Brooks (not to mention three picks) really helps the Magic when their top offensive contributors include Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson.
But the Magic took too long in considering the offer, but they received another nice offer from the Lakers where Orlando would land Bynum and first-round picks (that weren't apart of the Nash trade). The only problem with this trade is comes from the fact that Bynum would leave Orlando next summer for Free Agency just like Howard would. When that trade fell through the Lakers called on help from both Houston and Cleveland, in the end the Cavaliers look to have the advantage in landing Bynum. However, that comes at the cost of Orlando, they went from having solid replacements for Howard and now are getting offers that have them receiving a below average Center in Varejao who isn't in the same conversation as Howard or even Lopez.
With all this in mind, the Magic need to hold onto Howard for now to help recreate the market for the number one Center in the NBA (yes he is by far better than Bynum, but that is an article for another time). By holding Howard for the beginning of this upcoming season, the Magic will see new suitors start to look at a trade. Why? Because that's how it always is in the NBA, new teams come out of the woodwork and start looking for that one piece that could put them in the "Contenders" category. These teams could include; the Bulls (if the team is doing great when Rose arrives and they don't want to end up like their last two campaigns), the Celtics (looking at getting younger and building around a lethal PG in Rondo), or the Rockets (they have a plethora of young talent and a good base featuring Jeremy Lin and Kevin Martin).
The worst that can happen is that the Magic end up with a trade similar to the Varejao offer during the trade deadline. The best case scenarios end up with a trade at the level of the Brooklyn deal or Howard ends up feeling bad for Orlando, matures (or mans-up), and signs an extension with the Magic (however it is unlikely).