The Dwight Howard season long saga took an interesting turn Tuesday night after Howard put 24 points on the scoreboard while grabbing 25 rebounds off the backboard; to help the Magic comeback from a 14 point deficit to defeat the Miami Heat in overtime at the Amway Center, 104-98. A report from the “Orlando Sentinel” states that after the game, Howard told reporters that he does not want to be traded by the Magic before the NBA trade deadline goes into effect on Thursday at 3:00 pm EST, but would not commit to signing with the team once he becomes a Free Agent at the end of the campaign.
The Orlando center told members of the media that he had already made his feelings known to the team’s front office. He said “I’ve been telling those guys, and I’ve been telling them for the past two or three weeks now, that I want to stay and finish the season. I told ’em I feel we’ve got a great opportunity to win and I told ’em that I want to be here and I want to bring a championship here. And I told ’em, they’ve got to give me that chance.”
Although keeping the best center currently in the Association for the balance of this season would guarantee that the Magic would make the Playoffs this year, he could end up signing with another club next season; without Orlando getting any compensation for him. The Magic would find themselves in the same situation that the Cleveland Cavaliers did last year; with a team that was assembled around a superstar, who no longer was a member of the team.
The up-side for both Howard and his next team, would be that the club did not have to give up a package of young talent to acquire “Superman” which would give him more weapons to work with. He could also assure himself a trip to the Post Season this year; where as if he was traded to the Nets, he would be heading home at the end of the regular campaign.
The Magic Team Owner Rich DeVos is in favor of keeping Howard on the roster and believes he can be convinced to stay with the only team he has played for in the Association. Magic CEO Alex Martins told reporters “I still believe there is a big piece of him that wants to be here. Now, does that equate to him being here? I’m not so sure.”
Whether Martins perspective is colored by what he wants to see; or he could be correct. Howard reportedly told reporters last week that he wanted to be the standout guy with what ever team he chooses. Although he would be by far the best player on the Nets roster, they move to Brooklyn starting next season, which means he will be covered primarily by New York City media. It is pretty to standout in New York’s media, no matter how much talent you have.