Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/2/12

On Sunday Dwight Howard will play his first game against the Orlando Magic since he got a coach fired and ran out on the organization four months ago. After spending eight seasons in Orlando, Howard took some time to reflect on his experience and how he left Orlando. “I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could’ve done better. There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides. But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we’ve got to move forward,” Howard said, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA. The center left Orlando looking play for a contender that had a chance to win. After a disappointing start to the season and the firing of Mike Brown, it looked like maybe Howard should have stayed with the Magic. But Howard feels both sides are better because of the trade. “There are a lot of things we both could’ve done, but at the end of the day, it happened just the way it was supposed to happen. There was a reason behind everything. We might not see it or understand it at the time, but there was a reason why everything happened the way it happened and I think it made both parties stronger,” said Howard. The Howard trade left the Magic with a roster that is headlined by Aaron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis, so fans in Orlando probably don’t agree with the big man’s sentiments. While the Magic look toward rebuilding without Howard, the Lakers’ center is looking towards signing a long-term deal after the season. And it looks like he will be staying in Los Angeles. He was asked about the possibility of signing a new deal after practice this week and had this to say. “From one to 10? I’d give it a good 12. I love it. It’s been a lot of fun,” Howard said. “Just everything here, from the practices, the motivation of everybody here is championship, that’s what we need. I like the direction we’re headed. We’ve had some tough losses but we’ll learn and we’ll grow from it. We’re going to stick together.” The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement allows Howard to either sign a five-year deal with another team or sign a six-year deal with the Lakers. Howard and the not-so unstoppable Lakers will welcome the Magic into the Staples Center on Sunday with an 8-8 record and an offensive identity that has yet to be found.

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