By Shawn Muller-

(CBS) Orlando Magic officials and team owner Richard Devos are an embarrassment to the NBA.

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I am fine with franchise executives trying to ensure they can keep their best players happy, but the way the Orlando front office has handled the Dwight Howard soap opera is a complete and utter joke.

I completely understand wanting to keep the best center in the league playing his entire career with the team that drafted him number one overall back in 2004, but there comes a point when you have to tell the player who is in charge.

Unfortunately for the Magic, the only person seemingly in charge down in “the happiest place on Earth” is Dwight Howard

As the NBA trade deadline draws closer and closer, the Magic have told Howard that they will spend the next 48 hours making a last ditch effort to acquire a “Goose” to Howards’ “Maverick”  (my words, not theirs) that would make the resigning of the all-star big man a lot easier.

If, however, Orlando is unable to make a deal to bring somebody in by Wednesday, sources close to the situation believe the Magic front office will spend the final day before the Thursday trade deadline looking over their remaining options to decide whether to keep Howard or ship him out of town.  But all indications as of today point towards the Magic going all in and keeping Howard for the rest of the year.

Listen up and listen good Magic officials and specifically Mr. Devos:

Stop kissing this guys’ ass and do what is best for your franchise.  Trade him now and start over.  You already got burned once by keeping Shaquille O’ Neal back in 1996, so do you really want to be known as the franchise that lost two of the most dominant centers of their respective generations without gaining a single player in return?

This situation is the epitome of an inmate running the asylum.  Telling Howard that if he stays, he can decide the fate of general manager Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy?

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Are you freaking kidding me?

Red Auerbach would be rolling over in his grave if he knew this was going on in the league.

No player—and I mean NO PLAYER (outside of Michael Jordan)—should ever have that kind of pull within an organization.

Did owners and team officials forget that the players are the employees and not the employers?  Sure, people don’t pay to see the vice president or the owner night in and night out, but at the end of the day, there is a chain of command.

Openly stating that they will allow Howard to make executive-level decisions would be the worst thing that has happened to the NBA since they decided to let Charlotte have another franchise.  Obviously, superstars have always had an “influence” within the goings on of the front office, but it was never discussed openly and publicly as a part of the plan to keep a player happy.

Dwight Howard is good, and yes, he is the best center in a league that doesn’t have many quality big men, but he is not the “once in a lifetime” talent Shaquille O’ Neal was, so do yourself a favor:  Trade Howard, get a pirates’ booty in return, and look for a “serviceable” big man moving towards the future.

Having Howard for the past seven years has not resulted in a single NBA championship thus far, and I am not so sure keeping him will produce one moving forward either, especially with the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls looking like they will be running the Eastern Conference for the foreseeable future.

One player does not make a team great, but if the Orlando organization feels differently about Dwight Howard, and they decide to sell their soul to the devil by keeping the “Superman” prima donna and letting him control every aspect of the franchise, I hope they get everything they deserve:  Zero championships.

Shawn Muller

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Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at Read more of his blogs here.