An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Poll: Magic need to deal Dwight
Despite all of the rumors and a stretch earlier in the season that rivaled the ugliest in NBA history, the Orlando Magic are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference at 20-12.
How long they stay there depends on Dwight Howard.
The league's best center has made it clear that he wants out of Orlando. All indications, so far, are that if the Magic hold on to him past the trade deadline, they'll lose out on him to free agency.
But is it worth it for Orlando management to chance it, and try to make a run at the NBA Finals with Howard? We asked Newsday.com readers, and the results weren't close:
What should the Magic do with Dwight Howard?
Trade him now, better to get something in return than risk losing him for nothing in free agency: 89%
Hold on to him past the trading deadline, and hope he has a change of heart and re-signs: 11%
It's easy to point to the Jazz and Nuggets dealing Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony as the precedent for NBA teams dealing with unhappy superstars. Neither team, though, would have been considered serious contenders. As unlikely as it is that the streaky Magic would contend for a title in a loaded East that includes the Heat and Bulls, would it be impossible to sell the fan base of a 20-12 team that it's worth throwing this season away? The March 15 trade deadline is fast approaching, so we won't have to wait much longer to find out.
This week is all about NBA All-Star Weekend. So we want to know: which part of the festivities is best? The game itself? The Slam Dunk contest? Or is it time for the NBA to revamp the entire weekend? Vote below, and check back next week for results.