Dwight Howard made a bold statement this week while in Italy fulfilling requirements of his contract with Adidas at their Eurocamp. The Magic’s franchise player stated that he will NOT sign a contract extension this season and he WILL test the free agent market next summer.
Circle the wagons, ring the alarm, stop start the press!
Howard graciously took the time to discuss his future with Scott Cooper of NBA.com on Monday leaving the Magic front office and fans scratching their collective heads.
In short Howard wants to stay IF the Orlando Magic are able to win a championship in this the final season of his contract.
Howard is known for his jovial demeanor and often playful antics but seems quite serious in his latest comments.
“I want to win a championship, I think the owners have to really know that. That’s been my goal and my mission since I’ve been in the NBA — to win a championship. I don’t have side goals or agendas. My main goal is to win a championship. I want to have 14 other guys who feel the same way.”
When asked by Cooper if the Magic don’t win a championship or the personality of the team doesn’t change this season Howard said “Then things have to change” which could include his potential address.
So let’s get this straight. After being bounced in the first round of this year’s playoffs, having the league’s third highest payroll, and the terms of any new collective bargaining agreement sure to limit team spending the Magic are supposed to improve enough to become World Champions next season?
That is laughable!
Howard attempts to make it clear his intention to stay in Orlando and one would tend to believe him when makes comments like:
“There’s no other place I’d rather be besides Orlando, as of right now, that’s my home. I just want to stay in Orlando as long as I can. That’s the truth. I don’t have to keep things calm or anything. This is how I really feel in my heart. A lot of people want to see me go other places, but I want to stay in Orlando. I have a beautiful home there. There are beautiful people down there. My son is in Orlando. He’s getting a lot older and I want to be there to see as many moments as I can of his life.”
At the same time it appears as if Howard is giving himself room for escape clearly putting the onus on the Orlando Magic front office.
Howard is a likeable figure. He wants and almost needs to be liked. His comments are a safety net for if/when he does leave people won’t be able to say he didn’t make every attempt to stay in Orlando.
Well played Dwight, well played.
Magic fans have started the website staydwight.com in hopes of convincing him of the Orlando community support of their superstar. Surely they don’t want to have another Shaquille O’neal situation and you have to give the Magic fans credit for recognizing a problem when they see one.
The finger is now pointed at President and General Manager, Otis Smith. It is all on him to get the Magic to a point rosterwise that satisfies their true franchise player. If he fails, the Magic playoff slogan “Blue and White Ignite” will surely come to pass as this organization will burn in the wake of a Howard departure for many years to come.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com