Found March 15, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The Orlando Magic are out of time waiting for Superman.
The trade deadline is here. And unless Dwight Howard changes his mind by Thursday afternoon, the franchise that lost Shaquille O'Neal could very well send packing another once-in-a-generation big man by the end of the day.
Howard lost Wednesday night what might have been his last game with Orlando. He told the front office before tipoff that he wants the right to be a free agent this summer, a decision that may weaken Orlando's hesitation to trade their superstar.
Howard wants the Magic to gamble that he'll stay, and not trade him by the 3 p.m. deadline.
"They took a chance on me at 18, when everybody else said, No, don't do it,'" said Howard, whom the Magic drafted with the top pick out of high school in 2004. "They look stupid at first, but look now. It's the same situation. That's it. I understand their situation. I understand mine, too."
Neither general manager Otis Smith nor team president Alex Martins made the trip to Texas.
Coach Stan Van Gundy, hounded by questions all season about Howard's future, refused to entertain any more on the eve of the trade deadline.
"I don't even want to talk about it. It's so tiresome," Van Gundy said. "I've been dealing with this for three months. Nothing's fresh to me. Talk to somebody else about it."
Before losing 122-111 to the San Antonio Spurs, Howard called a players-only meeting. His teammates divulged few details about what was discussed, only that Howard reiterated his belief that the Magic are poised to contend for their first title this season.
Yet Howard is making no firm commitment to the Magic beyond that.
Magic spokesman George Galante confirmed that Howard informed the team before Wednesday night's game against the Spurs that he will not waive the early termination clause in his contact, which would have guaranteed Howard sticking around at least one more season.
Howard, who had 22 points and 12 rebounds, said he didn't know if he played his last game with the Magic.
"They know how I feel. I've expressed that to my teammates. I expressed that to the ownership. It's on them now," Howard said. "I've done my job. I haven't changed and despite whatever is being said, I'm still that same person. So, if you want to scrutinize me for taking care of Dwight, that's fine."
As the hours leading up to the trade deadline tick down, the Magic are looking for stronger assurances they can realistically hang onto the NBA's most dominant big man. If the Magic don't trade Howard, they risk the 26-year-old signing elsewhere and getting nothing in return for a perennial All-Star hitting his prime.
It's a scenario the franchise is loath to repeat after O'Neal did the same in 1996.
Howard asked the Magic to trade him before the season, but has since rescinded that request. He said after Tuesday's night overtime win against Miami that his change of heart wasn't new.
The Magic are 28-16 and 7 games behind first-place Chicago. Howard is averaging 21.2 points and a career-best 15.2 rebounds.
"They know how I feel about the city. I've sat down with them on numerous occasions and talked about what we can do together, but I can't do it all by myself," Howard said about his teammates. "You know, I want them to help. I want them to be involved with changing Orlando. That's always been my goal."
Provisions in the league's new collective bargaining agreement give the Magic the ability to offer Howard 30 million more than any other team if he becomes a free agent. Orlando can offer him a five-year contract extension with 7.5 percent annual raises, while other teams are tapped out at offering a four-year pact with only 4.5 percent raises.
"They took a chance on me at 18. And what did I do? I gave them everything I had for eight years," Howard said. "Take a chance again. I go out every night and play hard. If I didn't want to win, I would have dogged it. But that's not who I am. And look where we are. We're in a great position."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Does someone at ESPN know something that nobody else does? The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard was not included in the 5-player swap that sent Monta Ellis to Milwaukee, even though Golden State had said that they wouldn’t trade him unless they knew they were getting D12 in return. Maybe someone running the scoreboard for the ESPN Mobile site just got a little too excited about...
With the NBA tradline closing in on Thursday, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard committed to remaining with the franchise through the 2012-2013 season.
Howard had the option to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this summer, but after flip-flopping on his intentions several times over the last few days, decided against it on Thursday, signing an agreement...
ORLANDO No one cared Friday night about all the waffling he did, or the anguish he caused, or the national cynicism he prompted with his decision the day before.
When Dwight Howard bounced off the bench during pre-game introductions smiling from ear-to-ear, he was surrounded by his teammates, prompting his sight-to-behold, hip-hop Dougie shimmy.
All was forgotten, all forgiven...
Editor’s note: Expectedly, this post I wrote earlier this afternoon stayed relevant for all of about a few hours before, as I predicted, Dwight waffled again…or the reporters did. Who knows. (But the Disney thing…that’s still in play.)
Earlier today reports broke that Dwight Howard was willing to return to the Orlando Magic next season and wouldn’t opt out of his contract...
After playing almost the first three months of the NBA campaign with the old Clash tune “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” as his theme song, Dwight Howard has decided there is no place like home, at least for one more year.The Orlando Magic held a press conference on Thursday afternoon at the Amway Center according to the “Orlando Sentinel” as Magic Team CEO Alex Martins, General...
The NBA season started out with a bunch of questions such as “Will there be a season at all?” and “How are they going to fit all the games into a compressed schedule?” Obviouslym the NBA was able to get a deal signed by the players. But, we started off the season with one huge question:“Will Dwight Howard be in Orlando by season’s end?”We still don’t know the...
Captain Shoulders plans to stay put in Orlando for now, but hasn’t ruled out exploring new planets just yet.
The DWIGHT HOWARD sweepstakes has been suspended…at least temporarily. Orlando’s big centerpiece has decided to sign the opt-in clause to his contract, keeping him in the Magic kingdom at least through the 2012-13 season.
After looking like a wet shipboard tuna the...
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
After all the back and forth, Dwight Howard has decided to opt-in and stay in Orlando for another year. Now the question is will Howard sign an extension. If not, then he will become a free agent in 2013.
Some quotes below via NBA.com:
First, I’m glad this is finally over with.
“It’s [been] very hard. Talking about a career-changing event...
The Miami Heat are on the cusp of being a great team, yet they continue to fall short. The Orlando Magic are on the verge of losing the best big man in the NBA. There is a solution to both problems; trade LeBron James for Dwight Howard, straight up.
Howard has gone back and forth all season long and the Magic can’t lose him for nothing, which is the option that is staring them...
The Magic plan on trading Dwight Howard if they do not receive a commitment from him beyond the current season.
Dwight Howard had lunch with three teammates following a large team meeting and informed them that he planned to opt-in for the 12-13 season.
ON THE MARKET
Dwight Howard may not become a free agent after the season, but that won't deter Deron Williams from exploring other teams.
(15-29) vs. (28-16) Time/TV: 7 p.m./Sun SportsLine: Magic by 11.5Tickets: $24-$413 on TiqIQSeason Series: Won 94-78 in orlando on Dec. 29; Won 108-91 in Newark on Feb. 22; Tonight in Orlando
A change we can all believe in.