Tuesday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Mar 12

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • If you haven’t noticed already, Tobias Harris now wears Dwight Howard’s old number for the Orlando Magic.
  • I participated in a 5-on-5 today at ESPN.com to talk about Dwight Howard coming back to Orlando to face off against the Magic at Amway Center for the first time since being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the offseason.
  • “Magic fans would happily trade losing every game if it meant beating the Lakers.” (via Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post)
  • A look back at how former Magic stars fared in their first game back in Orlando with their new teams. The list includes Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and Tracy McGrady.
  • Both the Orlando Magic and Howard got what they wanted from the blockbuster trade.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk says the Magic will be fine without Howard: “Orlando’s plan was never to get equal value back in a deal for Howard because you never get equal value moving a superstar. It’s not possible. Try and you end up with Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries on oversized deals. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan made the smarter call — get good again by first getting young and bad. Get draft picks, be smart with them and build that way.”
  • Jeff Zilgitt of USA TODAY Sports was among a throng of reporters that spoke to Howard during shootaround today. Here’s a summary of what happened: “Dwight Howard came to Orlando with talking points and stuck to them Tuesday. [...] Howard focused on what the Magic accomplished in his eight season – four consecutive 50-win seasons, two trips to the Eastern Conference finals and one trip to the NBA Finals – and avoided saying anything that would give fans further fuel for disliking Howard and the manner in which he left Orlando.”
  • There’s a billboard in Orlando that is counting down the time until Howard leaves the city.
  • Howard has a message for Magic fans: “I’ve said it plenty of times – I have nothing but love for the fans here. They made me into the player that I am today and I’ll always be thankful for that. I came here a boy and left a man and that’s made me a better person. So thank you to all of the fans who supported me – even throughout all of the bad times. There is a lot of people here who supported me.”
  • Sekou Smith of NBA.com: “Closure. That’s what is on tap for Orlando Magic fans tonight when Dwight Howard makes his return to the building built upon his broad shoulders, the one that was supposed to house the city’s biggest and brightest star.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel with an interesting nugget: “Tonight, only one of Howard’s former teams will play for the Magic, point guard Jameer Nelson. Glen Davis is recovering from a fractured left foot, while Hedo Turkoglu is serving an NBA suspension for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. All the rest of Howard’s former Magic teammates have been waived or traded by the organization.”
  • Stan Van Gundy thinks the Magic should retire Howard’s jersey (and O’Neal as well) when it’s all said and done.
  • More from Howard on his time with Orlando: “We had a lot of great memories here,” Howard said. “They’ll never be taken away from me or from the people who supported us. So, I think I had eight great years here. We did a lot of great things. I saw a city go from a team where it was just like nobody in the stands to we got a new arena and we’re a packed house every night to see our team play. It was great to see that. Me and Jameer accomplished a lot here and our goal was to get people to come and support us. We did that.”
  • It’s been a journey of discovery for Howard in recent weeks leading up to his rematch with the Magic.
  • J.A. Adande and Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.com provide their takes on Howard’s return to Orlando.
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