Championship or bust for Dwight Howard | Magic Basketball

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Jun 14

Championship or bust for Dwight Howard

Via Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:

Dwight Howard reaffirmed his desire to stay with the [Orlando] Magic, but told NBA.com on Monday that he will definitely become a free agent rather than sign an extension in the next year and also left open the possibility he would reconsider his future in Orlando if the team does not win the title next season.

Speaking during a break at the adidas Eurocamp as part of a tour of the continent for the shoe company, Howard joked with reporters at a news conference and appeared in good spirits.

In a one-on-one interview afterward, though, he made it clear he is not happy with the collective personality of Orlando’s roster and that changes need to be made. The same message, he said, was delivered to owner Rich DeVos and CEO Bob Vander Weide in a meeting last week that included Howard sharing thoughts on everything from personnel to fan involvement and arena atmosphere at home games.

“I want to win a championship,” the All-Star center said. “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.”

Asked if the Magic have that now, he said, “It’s off and on. Sometimes guys are there whole-heartedly and then sometimes I’ve had teammates allow people getting in their ears and things like that effect the way that they play and approach the game.”

Howard said he did not tell DeVos and Vander Weide specific roster moves he wanted to see.

For those that have been following this story closely, none of this is news.

It makes no sense for Dwight Howard to sign a two-year extension (the longest extension he’s allowed to sign right now) with the Orlando Magic right now, given the state of the roster. Howard is motivated by winning, and right now the only thing the Magic have proven to Howard is that they’re capable of doing nothing more than losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. As such, Howard has every right to let the chips fall where they may, and see whether or not Orlando is capable of reconstructing an elite team and championship contender around him.

Howard’s message is clear — it’s championship or bust.

The wild card is the collective bargaining agreement. Until the players and owners can resolve that issue, there’s not much the Magic can do right now with regards to signing free agents, trading players, and what not. However, when the new CBA is ratified, Orlando needs to get to work. And fast.

Time is of the essence, and Howard has made it known that he’s not going to wait around for the Magic forever. The clock is ticking.

3 comments
marioraul
marioraul

A house needs a strong foundation. The Magic need to start by hiring a championship-caliber coach to anchor the franchise and bring back some credibility and elevate the current poor game execution (esp. come playoffs) for when it has the right players assembled.

Slickw143's post sums up the Orlango Magic: Great Luck, bad management. Three number one picks, a good number of star players. Yet the owners never aimed to hire a great coach or hire personnel capable of making sound trades to get the team better. Between 1994 and 1996 the sky was the limit for this team, then suddenly our clueless management let it all go to waste. Not convinced? Brian Hill was hired a second time, according to Bob Vander Weide, because it would evoke good feelings of the past by the fans. Apparently disregarding how the Magic's own players wanted his exit. Next, hired Van Gundy who was not liked in Miami and forced to resign there. Management is still clueless.

slickw143
slickw143

Yeah, not surprising at all. I don't want to go through what Cleveland, Toronto and Denver fans went through. If, after the CBA negotiations shake out, it doesn't look possible to be a contender this year, I would like to trade Dwight for pieces. I will wish him the best moving forward, and I'll still be a fan of his. But he deserves better, and I don't want to go through a prolonged rebuilding process. We really haven't had one in this franchise's history. We got Shaq in '92, and when he left we still had Penny. When Penny left, it wasn't long until we got T-Mac. When T-Mac left, we had a #1 pick already coming in.

As much as I know this won't happen, I really think it would be brilliant for both sides for the Magic to trade Dwight for LeBron. I think Dwight fits in better with Wade and Bosh, with each guy having their specific strengths to complement each other perfectly. And even though I dislike LeBron personally and have enjoyed all of the jokes from the Finals fallout greatly, he's still the best player in the league, and he guarantees a playoff spot for the team every year. If there's *anything* that can motivate him moving forward, it's the Heat pegging him as the scapegoat and swapping him out for someone else. From a narrative perspective, that would be so fascinating to see how he would react to that.