The relationship between All-Star center Dwight Howard and his team the Orlando Magic is deteriorating at a rapid pace and unless things turn around very quickly Magic General Manager Otis Smith may have no choice other than to trade the club’s superstar. Howard has been disgusted with the way his team played this week; losing two games to the Boston Celtics and then Friday night they were crushed by the New Orleans Hornets 93-67.
The big man criticized his squad after losing to the Celtics on Thursday, however he seemed even more upset when he spoke to the media after the loss to the Hornets according to a report from “ESPN.com.” Howard told reporters that he is not seeing his teammates putting forth enough effort which he believes was the cause of the three losses.
The 26-year-old center now playing in his eighth season in the Association told reporters “I look at guys and they don’t look like they want to play. I told them at halftime, ‘If you don’t want to play, just stay in the locker room, because it don’t make sense for a team who we should beat to just demolish us.’ They killed us because they just played hard and they wanted it. Look at their roster, but they play hard every night. … They kicked our butts tonight, not because they’re a way better team than us, but because they play harder than us.”
Orlando shot only 39% (24-61) from the field Friday night, with Howard the only player on the squad in double-figures as he racked up a double-double with 28 points and 16 boards. The Celtics held the Magic to their lowest point total in the history of the franchise on Monday in an 87-56 blowout. Boston came back from a 27 point deficit in the contest on Thursday night and beat Orlando 91-83.
Howard told members of the media that he is getting increasingly frustrated with the performance of the rest of his club. He said “It hurts to get out there and you play your hardest and you expect everybody to play the same way, and I’m not calling anybody out by no means because we all have to get better … but if you don’t want to be out there, don’t dress up. If you don’t want to play, stay home. People work too hard. I want to win a championship. I work too hard every night for anybody to not want to go out there and play hard. Play basketball. That’s why we all get paid to do this, because we love the game and it’s basketball, so why not give it your all?”
The All-Star big man who will become a Free Agent at the end of this season asked to be traded at the start of the regular season. His agent has been given permission to speak with the New Jersey Nets, the Dallas Mavericks as well as the Lakers to try to expedite a deal. There have also been reports that Howard would also accept a trade to the Clippers.