Dwight Howard has a decision to make. Orlando? New Jersey? Or somewhere else?
Howard, #12 for the Orlando Magic, will be a free agent this summer and he has a lot of options. He has shown interest in staying in Orlando, going to the Los Angelas Lakers, going to the New Jersey Nets, or going to the Dallas Mavericks. It seems that the New Jersey Nets are his top pick. Howard has spent lots of time talking about one team, then another, back to another, and then another making it really hard to get an idea of what he is really planning on doing this summer, or if change will happen sooner with a trade before the deadline.
With all this back and forth talk from Howard, the Orlando Magic was not willing to wait for this summer and allow Howard to leave the team high and dry. Orlando planned to trade Howard if he did not want to stay with the team. The trade deadline for the NBA is today, Thursday March 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm ET. Early Wednesday Howard had talked to a few teammates and the Magic organization that he planned on staying with the team the rest of this season and next till his contract is up. Howard’s contract ends after the 2012-2013 season but he is allowed to opted out after this season and become a free agent this summer, if he wishes. After hearing this, the Orlando Magic still planned to trade Howard unless he agreed to sign, waiving his early termination option (ETO). If Howard signed this he would not be to opting out of his contract this summer and will not be a free agent till possibly the summer of 2013.
When it came time to sign, Howard would not do it because he “didn’t fully understand the ramifications.” I do not know how a player could not fully understand what he/she is saying they will do. Sounds to me like Howard was just stalling and hoping this would get him through the trade deadline so he could stay with the team and then be a free agent this summer. Howard stated that he said he planned to stay because he heard about being traded and did not want that. Dwight Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan said, “Dwight has chosen not to waive his ETO under pressure from the team that he might be traded.” Wednesday before the Magic vs. Spurs game Howard had talked with the Magic’s owner Rich DeVos, and Magic’s CEO Alex Martins and explained to them that he did not plan on signing anything. While talking about the calls Fegan said, “Dwight expressed once again on a call today with the DeVos family and Alex Martins that he very much desires to pursue a championship this year with the Magic. Dwight also expressed that he had no intention of leaving the Magic high and dry at the end of the season.”
Then this morning on Thursday March 15, 2012 the day of the trade deadline the news game that Dwight Howard has changed his mind once again and planned to sign a waive of his ETO. Evidently after the game last night Howard had another extensive conversation with Rich DeVos and many others with the Magic organization. This call was said to last about 11 hours and at 3:00am Howard said he was ready to sign. Howard was advised to go home and get some sleep before signing and that is just what he did. Then when he got up he signed to waive his ETO. Howard said, “I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn’t deserve none of this. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do.”
I do not believe this is the best move for Howard. I think it would have been great to see him play with Deren Williams on the New Jersey, soon to be Brooklyn, Nets. Now that Howard has decided to stay in Orlando for another year it will be interesting to see what Williams decides to do. Originally many believed Howard and Williams were going to play together in New Jersey next year. Now that Howard is not going to be a free agent this summer will Williams stay in New Jersey? Will he go to Orlando? Will he go to Dallas? We will have to see what this summer brings. Personally I hope this brings Williams to Dallas.