Mark Cuban has been waaaay too quiet since his Mavericks finally brought him a championship. And while his lockout-shortened season philosophy can't be questioned, he's known for making the big moves.
Thus, even though the Mavericks don't have the most attractive package to land Dwight Howard, look for Cuban to somehow rope in other teams to land The Big D in The Big D. Cuban and Mavericks basketball chief Donnie Nelson did the right thing by letting Tyson Chandler walk and setting the Mavericks up for future moves. Most assumed those would be in free agency. But Cuban and the Mavericks also have been active in the trade market in the past. Look for Dallas to pull the upset.
The Magic brass will not let this become another Shaquille O'Neal situation. Howard has made it clear he wants out. Where doesn't matter. Send him to Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey or anywhere else Howard has hinted he wants to play.
At least this time the Magic can get something in return. O'Neal left for free. By trading Howard, the Magic have a chance to build the franchise. Then maybe, focus can be on basketball and not whether Howard leaves.
The Magic found a replacement for the 1990s Superman. They will find a replacement for the replacement.
I started saying this at training camp last year, the one before the lockout:
Dwight Howard is going to be a Laker.
When all is said, done and blamed, the Magic will trade Dwight for Andrew Bynum — and maybe Pau Gasol.
Look, the Magic can talk about Howard staying to earn more. But they simply can't gamble and allow him to become a free agent, not after already losing Shaq 15 years ago with nothing in return. Orlando is the Lakers' farm team, but I know this:
Scoff at Dwight-for-'Drew, but it's still the best deal any team has received for a superstar forcing his hand.