Denton: Trade Rumors Encircling Magic

By John Denton
March 1, 2012

ORLANDO – There are still two weeks to go until the NBA’s trade deadline, but the Orlando Magic already seem like a team with trade rumor fatigue.

With rumors constantly circulating about the future of franchise center Dwight Howard in Orlando, the Magic usually dominate the headlines when it comes to potential player movement as the trade deadline approaches.

Because Howard requested a trade prior to the season and the Magic resisted dealing the all-star center, the team has had to deal with a bevy of trade rumors for three months. Head coach Stan Van Gundy said on Thursday prior to the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder that the team is actually eager for the trade deadline to come and go so that it can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

``I think the mindset of our guys is that they want it over,’’ Van Gundy said of the trade rumors. ``I went up to one of (the Magic players) and said, `I know it’s tough, but it’s always like this at the trade deadline.’ But they said, `It’s been like this for us since the first day of training camp,’ which is a good point. Everybody goes through these trade deadline things, but we’ve been living with this a long time.

``Dwight is the most harped about guy in the league that is available, so it gets played up a lot,’’ Van Gundy continued. ``And there are always going to be other names in the deals, so there’s a concern among guys of, `If I’m still going to be here, who is going to be here with me? Or if I’m in the deal, where am I going?’’’

Magic power forward Ryan Anderson, one of Orlando’s most attractive trade pieces because of his blossoming game and relatively affordable contract, said he’s doing his best to avoid all trade talk and block it from his mind.

``We just have to block it out and do everything we can to not involve ourselves in this. It’s something that happens to every team every year, but the fact that we have the biggest story in the NBA and a guy (in Howard) who is a big part of this team and this community, we’re magnified by that,’’ Anderson said. ``The key is to focus on what we can control and if we focus on it too much it will alter the way that we play. Who knows what is going to happen?’’

Anderson said the uncertainty of it all is the most troubling aspect of the weeks and days leading up to the trade deadline. Those rumors heated up on Thursday because as of March 1 all players signed before the season are now eligible to be traded. Anderson said it’s difficult to fully invest yourself in a team and not know if your future will continue to be a part of that organization.

Anderson knows that whatever happens to Howard – whether he remains in Orlando through the rest of the season or he’s traded before March 15 – it will undoubtedly have a ripple effect throughout the Magic’s roster.

``If anything, that’s what everybody is worried about – what’s going to happen with you if he goes,’’ Anderson said. ``But it’s something that is even more out of our control. It’s a business at the end of the day and it’s a job that we chose. We have to understand that things are going to happen through a season. That’s the hard part because you get so invested in a team and you never know how long you are going to be there. But we just have to focus in on what we can control.’’

Van Gundy said it’s unrealistic to think that players can totally block out the rumors leading up to the deadline. Van Gundy said that he commiserated with the players for being in a position where their lives can be uprooted in a moment’s notice with a trade. But Van Gundy is hoping that the players can use their time on the court to get away from the trade talks.

``To think that guys aren’t going to think about that stuff with all that’s going on is not realistic,’’ he said. ``My point to them is it’s out of their control. And the time that we’re on the court – practices, walk-throughs and games – you can escape from it. As soon as they leave here, they know their agents, their families, the TV and newspapers (trade talk) is all it’s about. But at least when we’re here you can escape from it. But again, that’s an easy thing to say.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

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