Should the Magic choose to keep Dwight Howard for the rest of this season and allow him to test the waters of free agency this summer, a massive domino effect involving several organizations and players will take place. Teams like the Rockets, Nets, Celtics, and Mavericks have all cleared cap space and will scramble for the perennial All-Star's services, but only one will be able to walk away with the number one prize.
If Howard does leave, which is likely, Orlando will be forced to come to terms with a roster that was built to accommodate its superstar's strengths. The stock for the team's three-point shooters and defensively liable swingmen who are enabled by Howard's presence may plummet. The most notable example would be the team's second best player, Ryan Anderson.
As we covered on Friday, the Magic chose not to offer Anderson a contract extension earlier this season—a decision that acknowledges the team's willingness to accept its unknown future—and right now he's playing to show the league his worth once he becomes a restricted free agent in the offseason. With the chances of Anderson accepting the team's qualifying offer of $3.23MM in the offseason nonexistent, the Magic could be wise to sell high and trade their best asset. Anderson is a young, improving sharpshooter having a borderline All-Star season, but his success may be predicated on the play of Howard. If he's going to walk anyway, why not get something for him while you can?
With the type of game to either come off a bench or start for a playoff team, someone like the Nuggets or Pacers would be wise to seek his services in a trade involving multiple draft picks.