We were not 100 percent sure we would reach this point of the season in one piece. Back in December, the outlook looked so bleak it was tough to get out of bed sometimes. There was no future, no chance, nothing for this team.
The rhetoric has softened and the storm has subsided. But, boy, are those clouds brewing again.
The tenor surrounding the Dwight Howard trade talk has not reached the bleakness of those early December days. The mood seems to have softened since the trade request was first announced. Dwight continues to say the trade request has not been rescinded, nothing has changed, he still wants to win in Orlando (as long as he is here) and he will explore free agency no matter where he is.
Some of this might be lip service. Some of it might be how he truly feels.
All that we know is that rumors are going to fly all week (Did you hear about the one about the Bulls? How about the one with the Warriors and Hornets?) both incoming and outgoing involving Dwight Howard and this roster. Everyone is tired of it -- even apparently Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. We are almost to the finish line for the trade deadline.
I will get to some of the rumors floating around very shortly.
It is looking more and more like the Magic are not going to get the kind of package of players that they want, and so the Magic will still have Howard in uniform Friday night and will take their chances in free agency. There are a ton of factors that go into this whole thing. I went through them all in a pretty lengthy series about What Dwight REALLY Wants -- Dwight's Doomsday Scenario, The Plan, The List, Uneasiness with Fans, The Destination, The Marketing, What the Magic Want.
The one thing we might not have gotten too much into is what has the fan reaction been.
Be sure to click after the jump for some special ticket offers from TiqIQ including a special offer for tonight's game against the Heat.
There is certainly a lot of frustration. After all, Dwight Howard has grown up in Orlando during the last eight years. While a lot of people around the league have criticized his seemingly slow development, Magic fans have constantly defended him having seen his brilliance on a nightly basis. Magic fans absolutely love Dwight and everything he has done to resurrect this franchise, taking it to heights it had not seen since the mid-90s.
There was always hope that the Magic could get him to stay. And as the trade deadline has drawn near, it has become more and more apparent that the franchise believes it is worth the risk to take him into free agency and try to retain him.
Fans have not stopped showing the love because of this hope. You can see that from the still packed Amway Center on a nightly basis.
Believe it or not -- and it was difficult to believe if you were at the Milwaukee game last Saturday -- the Magic's sell out streak is still intact. And there is no sign of that changing.
Tuesday might be a significant day. It is the last home game before the trade deadline. It does not seem like anything is going to happen in the next 24 hours -- well, that could be completely wrong -- and so Tuesday's game against the Heat could very well be Dwight's last game at Amway Center as a member of the Magic. And, of course, Friday's game against New Jersey could be potentially awkward.
Our friends over at TiqIQ gave us a great look at how little the Magic's trade deadline troubles are having on the secondary market ahead of this week's headline matches.
Yes, ticket prices are still much higher for the big games against Miami and Chicago. But you will also notice that there is little lag from comparable games. TiqIQ provided us this chart in early February for a trio of home games featuring the awful Wizards, the decent Cavaliers and the audience-drawing Clippers.
Much like that week in February, quality of opponent matters in setting the price in the secondary market. The Nets still get a bigger draw than the Cavaliers (a team still in playoff contention). There appears to be no trepidation in the secondary market that Dwight Howard will not be around... at least until the end of the week.
The Magic have not yet advertised for season ticket renewals. Right now, I would bet there are more than a few people who are unsure whether or not they will commit to season tickets for the 2012-13 season.
The real test of fan commitment and the strength of the secondary market for the Magic will come Thursday night when the trade deadline passes and this is all solved. Until then, consider the below bargains from TiqIQ in preparation for another big week for the Magic at Amway Center:
- Average ticket price for Tuesday, 3/13 Heat vs Magic: $174
- Offer $75 for a "1 star" ticket that usually retails for over $140 or Offer $160 for a "3 Star" ticket that usually retails for over $250 after all the shipping/handling fees, here: http://tiqiq.us/8s8
- Average ticket price for Friday, 3/16 Nets vs Magic: $67
- Offer $22 for a "1 star" ticket that usually retails for over $38 or Offer $55 for a "3 Star" ticket that usually retails for over $71 after all the shipping/handling fees, here: http://tiqiq.us/8sJ
- Average ticket price for Monday, 3/19 Mavericks vs Magic: $127
- Offer $50 for a "1 star" ticket that usually retails for over $80 or Offer $80 for a "2 Star" ticket that usually retails for over $110 after all the shipping/handling fees, here: http://tiqiq.us/8sU