Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/19/12
The trade deadline has passed, so no savior will be arriving this season in Orlando. Then again, do the Magic really need one? There are Orlando players who believe the team has the pieces now to win an NBA title. And one of them is the guy who counts the most. No doubt, center Dwight Howard said of the Magic being a legitimate title contender. We dont have to get all the hoopla, whatever. But I think teams understand, though, that we have a pretty good team if we play together and play the right way. And we just have to do it on a consistent basis . I think we have a team that can make a run. What a difference a week makes. Howard had looked to be on his way out of Orlando if he didnt commit to at least not opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent next summer. While the Magic obviously would have preferred Howard had agreed to a long-term deal at last Thursdays trade deadline rather than simply postpone the drama one year, at least a big distraction is gone from the rest of this season. So is Orlando a serious title contender? That might be a stretch. The Magic (29-17) have the NBAs fifth-best record but theyre still 7 12 games behind Chicago (37-10), their foe Monday night at the Amway Center, for the best record in the East. Still, whether they can win it all this season is a lot more fun to talk about for the Magic than where Howard soon might be playing. I think were in position right now to make a run. We have some good wins against the top teams in the league, said guard J.J. Redick, whose team went 2-2 in the completed regular-season series against Miami and is 1-1 against the Bulls heading into their final seasonal meeting. The thing we got to do is get better defensively and be more consistent. I dont see the personnel right now being any different than when we made a run in 09 (losing 4-1 in the Finals to the Lakers). We play similar systems. Ryan (Anderson) kind of takes the Rashard Lewis role (as a potent shooter at power forward), so to speak. In addition to Redick, there are three other Orlando players still around from 2009. They are Howard, guard Jameer Nelson and forward Hedo Turkoglu, although Turkoglu left after that season before returning early last season Yeah, we have that team, Howard said about whether these Magic can be as good as the 2009 outfit. We have to just to do it on a consistent basis, and we have to have total confidence in ourselves to win. Howard wasnt spewing as much positive talk about the Magic earlier in the season, when he asked to be traded to either Dallas, the Lakers or New Jersey. But Howard, who still might desire to play one day in a bigger market, still likes this Orlando outfit enough that he didnt want to be risk being sent to some bottom-feeder to finish out the season if he didnt agree to not opt out this summer. Still, there exists the perception that the Magic, unless they there are fitted this year for rings, will have to spend the summer or the early part of next season doing what they can to appease Howard. Redick, though, bristled at that suggestion. Im not really worried about appeasing anybody, so to speak, Redick said. If he wants to go somewhere, I dont really care about that . You guys (the media) want to write about (the prospect of possibly needing to appease Howard). I could care less, to be honest with you. At least Howard cant go anywhere this season. So theres no point in Magic players worrying too much about anything past this spring. We dont have anything else that can possibly distract us, Anderson said. Its just about winning games now. Its about getting better. Anderson says the Magic have the pieces now that they can beat anybody. That has been proven in the two wins over Miami and an impressive 99-94 March 8 win at Chicago. Then again, the Magic also have shown they can lose to anybody. They have dropped games to Detroit, New Orleans and Charlotte, the last one coming just two days before beating the Bulls. We have to continue to have our focus that we have against the top-tier teams against those teams that arent the same, said swingman Quentin Richardson, whose Magic led the Heat in the third quarter and were within one point early in the fourth before falling 91-81 Sunday at Miami. We had some letdowns a lot of nights that no way we should lose to those teams . We got beat by Charlotte. Thats a prime example. But Orlando at least matches up rather well against the Heat due to Howards ability to dominate against a Miami team that lacks size, and his presence allows the Magic to knock down open 3-pointers. If the East standings remain the same and neither team is upset in the first round of the playoffs, the second round would see a Sunshine State squabble. Absolutely, Heat forward LeBron James said of whether he considers the Magic a legitimate title contender. Any time you have a dominant force like Howard in the paint and you have really good players around him, its going to be a tough team to play in the playoffs. Stay tuned to see what happens in the postseason. No savior might be available now for the Magic, but they dont think they need one. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Manziel not planning bachelor party, focused on NFL comeback

Bills owner struggles to answer question about competency

Olynk cracks funny joke about Thomas' missing tooth

NFL exec: Bears GM Ryan Pace 'just got fired with this draft'

John Elway consulted Jim Kelly before drafting nephew Chad

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McCloughan a possible candidate for Bills' GM vacancy?

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason

NBA playoffs: Rivalries to rematches, stories to follow in the second round

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA playoffs: Rivalries to rematches, stories to follow in the second round

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker