Oh, Orlando. You poor little thing.
Cleveland feels your pain. The pain was a little different, and maybe worse, but we have an understanding. Dwight wasn’t a hometown kid, he didn’t promise titles, and he didn’t leave you without letting you know he was going. However, your situation, in ways was much different and a bit worse.
As much as LeBron was a jerk in how he left Cleveland, Dwight was way more so. What a ridiculous human being. So immature and selfish it’s absolutely ridiculous. I was hoping that somehow Orlando could keep him forever and “ruin” his career. I’ve never seen a grown man in sports act in such an immature and disrespectful manner.
Well Orlando, as much as I feel bad for you, I am dumbfounded by your organization, and for that I feel even worse.
According to the infamous “sources” that so often accompany any sort of news in the basketball world, or any sporting world for that matter, the Magic were asking the world for Dwight Howard. They were asking for things that they simply weren’t able to receive. That’s why the first few trades didn’t go through. So when the trade talks struck up again, I figured that Orlando would be getting compensated heavily. Orlando, if I were you, I would be furious.
As much as the Magic needed to get rid of Dwight Howard, they needed the correct compensation. At the beginning, they were headed in the right direction. By the end, they were completely wrong. How on earth do you trade Dwight Howard, the best center in the NBA and a franchise player, for Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, and Moe Harkless? I understand the three first rounders will be quality picks, but there were certainly better deals on the table. Afflalo is average, Harrington certainly doesn’t go with the whole “youth movement”, Nikola Vucevic doesn’t seem to be a franchise center, and Moe Harkless could be the only seemingly potentially good piece in this deal. Every other team in the deal received some sort of star player. That’s what I don’t understand.
Orlando, it’s going to be a difficult road back. The Cavaliers were fortunate in their draft picks, but they’re still journeying in the post-LeBron era. It’s unfortunate, it really is. It’s unfortunate that NBA stars are so selfish and egotistical that they have to act in such a ridiculous manner. It’s unfortunate that no city outside of New York, LA, or Miami is good enough for an NBA superstar these days. Orlando, you’re definitely not Cleveland. You have good weather. You have a very populated city. You have freaking Disney World in your backyard. Some very prominent athletes call you home: Tiger and Shaq among others. It’s weird to me to think that Dwight hated Orlando so much. I understand the team’s management was never good, but it seems to me it was more than the management that kept Dwight away.
Orlando, if I were you, I would be furious at the Magic. Heck, I am! The Magic screwed the Cavs out of Bynum! But most importantly, the Magic set themselves back much further than they could have. Either way, the Magic were going to be set back. You can’t lose a top 5 NBA player and be in better shape, it’s just not logical. However, they could have done much much better, and for that the Magic faithful should be upset.
Magic fans, I have some advice for you on behalf of the city of Cleveland. These times are difficult. Quite honestly they suck. You never want to see your team go from one of the best to one of the worst. In your case, you weren’t one of the best, so the fall may not be that far. Anyways, first piece of advice, embrace the future. You know you’re not going to win now, so embrace the young guys. Make them feel like they’re a part of something special. When you start winning again, they’re going to be the foundation. Watch them grow, it’ll be more fun than losing night after night.
My second piece of advice for you, Orlando, is let it all out. Cleveland may have looked immature at times, but we spewed our hatred onto LeBron in a fast and furious manner. T-Shirts, jokes, memes, you name it we did it. Yes, we looked bitter, stupid, and immature, but no one understood what we were going through, so it didn’t matter. It makes things easier in the long run.
My third piece of advice is this: do not let the Lakers come into Orlando and embarass you in the way that LeBron did. Well, the Lakers are going to be one of the two elite NBA teams, so winning may not be an option, but don’t let Dwight Howard make a fool of you and seemingly validate his decision on his first time back in Orlando. Trust me, it was not fun at all. I wasn’t even able to watch the game when LeBron came back to Cleveland, but I still felt the embarrassment seeping through my pores.
My final piece of advice is one that you have no control over. Just hope your team drafts well. It’s easy to forget about LeBron when you have the Rookie of the Year on your side. While no one has any control over the NBA lottery, if things continue at their seemingly rigged pace, I feel as though the Magic could get the first pick in the draft.
Orlando I really feel for you. It’s not fair that the arrogance and selfishness of a few men should ruin your chances of success. Orlando only has one professional sports franchise, and that makes it even that much more difficult. So Orlando, just look toward the future and root as hard as you can against the Lakers. I’ll be rooting for the Lakers, because they’ll be the only team that can beat the Heat, but I guess you can root against both if you want.
I’m so sorry Orlando. You really don’t deserve this, but then again, none of us do. I’ll be rooting for you as you get back to prominence in the NBA. It’s going to be a difficult journey but just know that you’ll have your “brother from a lost superstar” to help you out.
Oh, and last piece of advice: APPRECIATE SKYENGA! HE GOES HARD NOW!
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove