The Magic seem to have done as well as, if not better than, any of the four teams involved in last year's Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum trade, but yesterday they lost a significant asset they acquired through the blockbuster deal. Orlando's massive $17,816,880 trade exception lapsed when the team failed to use it by the end of yesterday, the one-year anniversary of the day the Magic relinquished their star center. The Magic could have used the exception to absorb salary in a trade without having to come up with matching salaries in return.
The expiration comes as no shock, since Magic GM Rob Hennigan has steadfastly sacrificed the present for the future, and bringing aboard a player or group of players making such a sizable chunk of money could compromise that effort. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel wrote a couple of weeks ago that the exception would likely go unused, and without rumors linking the Magic to a major trade this summer, it's been apparent for a while that the exception would probably expire.
Hennigan and company were aggressively pursuing trades during the season, and while they pulled off a pair of deadline swaps, neither of them involved the team dipping into the Howard trade exception. The Magic never seemed destined to use the full amount to acquire a player on a high-dollar contract, but I'm surprised they didn't use at least a small portion of it to bring in a veteran on a short-term deal or a young player with room for improvement.
The precise amount of the exception was derived from subtracting Nikola Vucevic's $1,719,480 salary for 2012/13 from Howard's $19,536,360 pay last season, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors explained in detail. For more information about trade exceptions, check out our glossary entry.