Don’t Blame Dwight Howard, Magic Fans
Don’t blame Dwight Howard for his comments, Magic fans. The guy has done everything in his power to win for the Magic, he just came up short. So with that, it’s time for him to move on to the next one.
In a recent interview with Scott Raab of Esquire Magazine, Dwight Howard said a few things Magic fans probably don’t want to hear:
There’s more you can do in a bigger place. I’m stuck in a tough position because I feel like right now, where I’m at, I’ve done so much. And I just don’t know what else I can do. I can’t live for everybody else. I don’t know what decision I’m gonna make as of right now. It’s been crazy. Everybody wants me to come here, come play here, come to our team, do this. It’s a great feeling, though, to be wanted.
The toughest part for me is the city — the people. They’ve got burgers named after me in Orlando, they’ve got a Web site saying, “Please stay.” I love the people in the city. I’ve literally sat on the bench with a towel on my head crying, because I feel the passion in the stands. I just think about what’s going to be best for what I want to accomplish in my life. And I don’t want that door to close on me, wherever that door is. I don’t want it to close.
It’s no secret that the current Orlando Magic team is not capable of putting together any kind of run towards a championship, you take Dwight off the team and we’re looking at the team that won the lottery to draft him.
Magic GM Otis Smith blew up the team last December, trading off all the teams’ best assets and adding two of the worst player contracts any team could have — Gilbert Arenas (3-years/$62 million left) and Hedo Turkoglu (3-years/$34 million left). They’re the worst contracts in comparison with their production: Arenas averaged 8 points per game while Hedo averaged 11. Otis Smith is the only person you can blame in this situation, you can’t blame Dwight, ownership, or even head coach Stan Van Gundy. Stan’s job is to prepare the team, that he is provided, the best way he can to win games, bottom line. Stan drew up the plays and at the end of the day it’s the players that have to execute. Ownership has proven they will spend whatever it costs to put the winning team on the court, the teams’ payroll is the 5th-highest in all of sports.
I would not want to be Otis Smith right now, as I stated in my previous NBA lockout post, Otis has so many ideas going through his head right now and he just can’t do anything about it. Even though I said it was his fault for the team being so bad, you still have to like how he made such a bold move mid-season. Granted it wasn’t the right move, I still like that he made a move rather than laying low. You can’t fault him for trying, but at the end of the day we have an entire city at stake here.
As a Magic fan myself it is tough to see a player of this caliber say these kinds of things, but you can’t blame the guy. He has been in Orlando for seven seasons and has only one trip to the NBA Finals. “I’ve done so much […] I just don’t know what else I can do” does not sound like a happy guy, doesn’t sound like a guy that wants to commit another 4-5 years in town. Dwight is the kind of guy that wants the attention, he wants the bright lights and fame. More than all of that, Dwight wants to win and this team just can’t do that. Barring some unforeseen blockbuster trade, the Magic are not in any position to have a championship-caliber year. You can say I’m not a true fan, I’m fine with that — I’m just looking at this realistically. The city needs to prepare itself for life outside of Dwight Howard while we still have time. The current lockout is not helping the team by any means right now, should the lockout continue and more games are lost, it’s bye-bye Dwight.
The only glimmer of hope the city and the team has, is that something happens in this new CBA that makes it stupid for Dwight to leave. There’s been rumors that an “Arenas clause” be added to the next CBA, which would allow teams to remove an overpaid player from their payrolls and avoid any luxury-tax penalties. Should this amnesty clause get approved, the Magic would almost certainly drop Gilbert’s contract, which would free up close to $20 million off the payroll. If the team can get Arenas out and bring in another star, that could definitely influence Dwight to stay.
At least we’re dealing with Dwight Howard and not LeBron James. At least we know there won’t be an hour-long special on ESPN to announce his decision. We already know Dwight will opt to become a free agent, he’s already announced that much. I do believe he has already made up his mind and I think he’s gone. Even though he will leave, Dwight still loves this city and the fans. He loves having a website (Stay Dwight) made specifically for him, he loves all the support, I won’t take that away from him. Our only job now is that when Dwight returns with his new team, we stand and cheer and applaud him for everything that he has done. He deserves that and if I may Dwight, please don’t pick the Heat.
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