You read it here. Dwight Howard had agreed to be traded to the Nets, but had a last minute change of heart and stayed with the Magic.
Otis Smith never really made the one move that broke the Magic, but in totality he certainly pushed the limits of what Howard and Stan Van Gundy could prop up; it wasn’t a delicate mix, per se—merely one that was tested far too often and rarely counterbalanced after a tip in the wrong direction.
Then, with a slight shift here and a seemingly equal replacement there, the Magic gradually fell from their position in the league’s elite and toppled down a slope that Smith himself had created. Even with Howard’s two-way excellence and Van Gundy’s diligence, the balance in Orlando could only withstand so much.
Wafer was recently deactivated and rumors began to surface that the Magic may waive him. However, Wafer’s camp hasn’t asked to be bought out and they expect the shooting guard to finish the season in Orlando.
On Thursday, there was a report saying that the Italian team Milano would express interest in Wafer should he be waived. However, sources close to the Wafer say that he wants to remain in the NBA. If the Magic do decide to waive Wafer, expect him to sign with another NBA team.
Orlando’s problem is not that Dwight can’t hit free-throws. It’s that they have no one else who gets to the line and demands as much attention as him. If a player, even 60 percent as good as Kobe Bryant in 2002, was with Orlando right now, there would be no talk of Dwight’s poor free-throw shooting being the demise of the Magic’s chances at winning a title. Which meshes with the idea that Orlando is lacking a consistent shot creator on the perimeter.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.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)