More likely than not, then, it seems the Magic will spend the majority of its focus on free agency in finding an adequate backup for Howard. All these needs are about taking pressure off of Howard. Nothing would take more pressure off of Howard than having a defensive-minded center who can come in and give him 15 minutes off per game (or better yet, play alongside him for five minutes). In other words, the Magic need a cheaper Marcin Gortat.
Schmitz suggests Jeff Foster, the hard-working center from Indiana, and Kris Humphries as potential grabs. Foster would have the right attitude to come in and play for the Magic. He is all about rebounding and defense and would be perfect as a backup for Howard. He can even step out and hit a little jumper so if the Magic need to play big, Foster can be there. He would endear himself to Magic fans quickly and would also be someone that can attack the offensive glass (something the Magic struggle with too, although that is partly strategy).
Abrams: Pick one — Gilbert Arenas ($62.4 million through 2014) or Hedo Turkoglu ($34.5 million through 2014). Both have underperformed (and then some), but Otis Smith has a longstanding relationship with Arenas that dates back to their days together in Oakland. My take: They need to shed Arenas to give Dwight Howard extra help.
Simmons: Agreed — has to be Arenas. Although it’s a shame Hedo is going to escape Amnesty 2.0’s wrath; few deserve the indignity more than him. Lemme throw this idea at you: What if the Magic amnesty’d Arenas, then traded Hedo and J.J. Redick to Atlanta for Joe Johnson? That’s the best possible teammate out there for Dwight Howard; meanwhile, Atlanta could use the clause on Hedo (wiping $11.1 million off their 2012 cap) and turn Johnson ($107.3 million remaining through 2016) into Redick ($12.9 million through 2013) while dropping their 2012 cap from $66.56 to $55.3 million. I’m a genius. How am I not running a team, Abrams?
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com) and is the co-host of the ESPN1080.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).