Saturday , Apr , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Smith and Magic will say ‘No’ to offers for Howard

With Dwight Howard in the final year of his contract next season, Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith is fully prepared to receive a host of offers for the All Star center.

"To say it hasn’t happened before is crazy, so, yes, I expect it to happen," Smith said Friday. "And the answer will be the same as it always is: No."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To quote Nancy Reagan, Otis Smith will just say ‘No’.

Of course, the Orlando Magic GM won’t be turning down drugs, but trade offers for Dwight Howard, his franchise face and superstar five-man.

Smith has no choice but to say this. And he has no choice but to justify his ‘No’ with public declarations that Howard, who can become a free agent in July of 2012, will re-sign in Orlando.

This may or may not happen.

Howard may re-sign because he’s loyal. Or he’s comfortable. Or he likes having his own team. Or the new Collective Bargaining Agreement might have a franchise tag clause, which may mean he has to stay.

The opposite is also true. Howard, for any number of reasons, may leave.

He may desire a change of scenery; he may leave for a bigger market to maximize marketing opportunities; he may leave to join a fellow superstar or two and enhance his chances at winning a championship.

The last scenario would be on Smith. He has tendered several big ticket contracts and swung many blockbuster trades, but has failed to surround Howard with a legit co-superstar.

After all, Smith signed Rashard Lewis to a mammoth pact and then swapped him for Gilbert Arenas, who has a longer contract for more money.

Both players underperformed. Ditto for Vince Carter. Smith acquired ‘VC’ from the New Jersey Nets before sending him to the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu –another expensive, underachieving player.

So Smith has backed himself into a corner. His fate, like the Magic’s, hinges on Howard re-signing.

–Oly Sandor.

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