Instead of being a marquee franchise player you want to build around, Dwight Howard has lost every shred of credibility over the last 12 months and the whole saga of trade me – keep me with the Orlando Magic, who built a team around him and tore it apart and fired everyone above him and somehow, are worst off than where they were before.
Howard said his future is with the Magic, and waived the clause in his contract allowing him to opt out of it in the 2012 summer. Not yet signing an extension to become sort of a Magic for life or make a lot of money, as the new CBA helps players who re-sign with their teams make more money. And then Howard got injured, ending the season, while the rumors of his unhappiness with Stan Van Gundy and the entire Magic front office for – who knows? Not doing enough to build a championship worthy team around him?
Since Howard entered the league it’s all been about moving players around him and trying to find the right formula, which is probably getting four players who can make open shots from beyond the arc while Howard works in the paint on both ends. It was enough for the NBA Finals in 2009 and the Conference Finals in 2010. Since then it’s been more shuffling and re-shuffling to make him happy and make the team more than just a first round playoff member. They haven’t been past the first round the last couple of seasons.
And here comes the summer. Howard says he wants only one team – The Brooklyn Nets, who are also dreaming of their own version of a big three or dream team or super-group or whatever it’s called these days. The trend is putting a group of All-Star players together, clogging up your cap space and trying to be creative by getting a huge draft steal or a few useful veterans who don’t care about the money – they just care about a chance to win a title.
But Howard, like pretty much every player in the history of the NBA except for some green-blooded Boston Celtics, is also tempted by Los Angeles, Lakers that is. Somehow, they always seem to get their man. And after the Brooklyn Nets tried to move the world with sign-and-trades and working multiple team deals and changing contracts so Howard $19 million and change can fit in their salary structure, the Lakers rose as the next in line. They still are, but no one is really sure how to make it work.
Andrew Bynum sounds like the logical trade, and the salary works for both teams. But Bynum isn’t happy about going to Orlando or being used as a trade chip, and announced he won’t re-sign or guruantee a re-signing after his contract runs out in 2013. And now Dwight Howard seems to be willing to give up on a trade, announcing no matter where he goes, he’s going to let his contract run out in the 2013 summer and see how free agency feels like. Who’s going to want to trade half their team away, their future draft picks and what not for a star player known to have no sense of decency for anything but himself (and that’s how it should be, maybe)? What are the Orlando Magic going to do know?
Dwight Howard isn’t a big enough star to become the next LeBron James or Kobe Bryant as the most hated NBA players and athletes in America. He’s no Tiger Woods as well. Playing for a team like Orlando is part of the reason. Small-market and no ‘chosen one’ label on him from day one. Not being a lovable guy and a good enough player, I mean legendary good that makes you feel disappointed in him, is even a bigger reason.