Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 3/15/12

Over the past 48 hours or so, Dwight Howard has made his situation with the Magic into even more of a circus than most of us could have predicted. Before the season, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Howard would at the very least opt out of his contract with Orlando after this season. The most likely scenario was that the Magic would trade him, to assure they got something in return before he inevitably left for greener pastures.

Then Wednesday came. In an unexpected change of events, Howard decided he was not going to opt out of his contract and would remain with the Magic through at least the 2012-2013 season. Shortly before that, it appeared that he and his agents were trying to manipulate the situation so that Dwight ended up with the Nets. If that was the case, it appears Howard thought better of it and no longer wants to be the bad guy. He told RealGM on Wednesday evening that he is definitely staying with the Magic for at least another year.

“Man, listen, you know my heart, my soul and everything I have is in Orlando,” Howard said. “I just can’t leave it behind.

“I have gotten some bad advice. I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn’t deserve none of this. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do. This has been a very hard time. For me, my family and all of us. The fans deserve a better hero and I will make that happen. I love and appreciate my fans and this city.”

Do I feel sorry for Howard? Of course not. Part of me is starting to believe, however, that he feels remorseful for the way he has handled the situation — particularly in the hours surrounding Wednesday’s trade deadline. Dwight also said that he will sign an ETO waiver on Thursday morning to assure this situation is not repeated again next season.

After all this back-and-forth and given Howard’s decision to remain with the Magic through next year, it is now a definite possibility that he could remain in Orlando for the long haul. If he had no plans to sign an extension with the team, it would make no sense for him to not opt out of his contract for next season. Perhaps the Magic’s improved play as of late made Superman reconsider. Or maybe — just maybe — there is a sense of loyalty lingering in there somewhere.

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