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NBA Trade Rumors: Orlando Magic Will Be Fine Without Dwight Howard

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 16:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic look on during a break in their NBA game on January 16, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Magic won 109-103.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Alvaro AlfaroCorrespondent IIJuly 3, 2012

The comparisons to Shaquille O'Neal aren't going to stop if Dwight Howard is traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, the states in which they left the Orlando Magic will be nothing alike if the most recent trade rumor comes to fruition.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! Sports:

"As the Orlando Magic work to unload superstar Dwight Howard, management is becoming increasingly focused on a potential trade package centered on Los Angeles Lakers All-Star center Andrew Bynum, league sources told Yahoo! Sports."

Replacing a player like Howard is no easy task, but Bynum fills the void nicely. The Magic will be fine going forward in this trade scenario since the team will be getting back a 24-year old All-Star who hasn't reached his ceiling yet.

Last season Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. While those numbers aren't as good as Howard's stat line, it's the best trade-off available. In the 2011-2012 campaign Howard posted 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Orlando's big men leaving for Hollywood may seem eerily similar, but the situations are totally different.

In the 1995-1996 season Orlando was one of the best teams in the NBA. That year the Magic finished with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference after the team went 60-22. The franchise was really becoming a force in the NBA.

When Shaq left the franchise in the summer of 1996 the Magic still had a core of young talented players in Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and All-Star Anfernee Hardaway.

Fast forward to today and the Magic are nowhere near as talented as that team.

Orlando finished with the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference this past season. And in Howard's absence the Magic were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Without Howard the Magic don't have another All-Star to rely on with their current roster. Outside of J.J. Redick and Glen Davis there aren't any solid young players on the team.

Shaq handled the situation quickly and painfully and threw salt in the wounds of every fan that watched his movie "Steel." Howard on the other hand dragged his decision out for two summers and flip-flopped sporadically.

In this trade scenario the Magic still have an All-Star to build around. Bynum was second in the league in total defensive rebounds with 517 and he was also sixth in blocks per game. Even though Bynum is not the defensive anchor that Howard is, he's still a daunting presence in the paint and a great talent to build around. 

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