Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 2/2/12
First came LeBron James. Then Carmelo Anthony, then Chris Paul. The idea of an NBA superstar not being totally content in his current city has become a yearly ritual. That's not to say it's wrong. Annoying maybe, but not really wrong. Anyway, the latest example of this is Orlando's Dwight Howard, the best center in the game and the hot free-agent-to-be. The Cavaliers get their first look of the season at Howard and the Magic on Friday, and it's hard to envision why Howard might want to leave. Orlando is a great city. It's warm. There are no state taxes. As a franchise, the Magic have won more games than anyone but Boston and the LA Lakers in the past four years (regular season and playoffs combined). They also made a Finals appearance in 2009. So clearly, the Magic are committed to winning. Yet for some reason, that's not good enough for their best player. Cavs coach Byron Scott understands free agency. He was a member of the Magic Johnson-led Lakers teams of the 1980s. But when the Showtime Era was at its end, Scott had to make a decision. Stay in his hometown LA or seek out a new situation. This was long before the Internet, long before when every player's next contract became fodder for 247 rumor-mongering. "The biggest thing for me (in free agency) was if I could go somewhere and help that team win," Scott said. "If you go there and perform and the team does well, everything else would fall into place." The year was 1993, and Scott chose Indiana. Think about that. Scott left the bright lights and bigger stars for a much smaller and blander market in the Midwest. Nothing against Indiana, but it ain't South Beach. "I went there because of Reggie Miller and Rik Smits and the Davis boys (Antoine and Dale)," Scott said. "The Pacers had never been out of the first round, but I knew they had potential. I knew if I was on that team and coming off the bench, we could get to the next level." Scott didn't comment on Howard or the Magic specifically, but he did talk about the city of Orlando. "Nice place," he said. "The thing I liked about it (as a player) is there are no taxes. You got great weather and things like that, but how players today view it, I have no idea." Today, things have changed. It doesn't often seem to be guys wanting to become a piece of a deep and balanced team. It's more about teaming up with another star, or if you're not a star, riding the coattails of those who do join forces. The Cavs experienced this sort of thing firsthand with James in the summer of 2010. They'll get another look at it Friday. But fortunately for them, it's the guys in the other uniforms who have to deal with it this time. Kyrie Not Afraid Cavs rookie guard and leading scorer Kyrie Irving said having the imposing Howard clogging the middle won't keep him from playing his normal game. "I will be throwing that ball almost as high as the shot clock, I'll tell you that," Irving said, laughing. But he actually does have a plan of attack beyond that. "Playing against great shot-blockers, you just have to catch them off guard sometimes," Irving said. "You know, stop-and-pop. I love going in (the paint), but once you see Dwight Howard, sometimes you stop-and-pop, sometimes you make the easy pass to your teammate and let him make the play." Irving added, "He's a great shot-blocker, but that's not going to stop me from going to the basket or trying to make plays for my teammates in the paint." Dribbles Orland waived former Cavs guard Larry Hughes on Wednesday and signed free agent Ish Smith. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Smith will play Friday against the Cavs despite participating in just one practice with his new team. Van Gundy on Smith: "He's real quick, can really penetrate the ball and make plays. Hes supposed to be a pretty good pick-and-roll player, but I havent seen enough to say for sure on that." Smith will play behind veteran Chris Duhon. Normal starter Jameer Nelson is out with concussion-like symptoms. For more on Smith, and how he may be the perfect ft for the Magic, check out this piece on FOX Sports Florida.
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