Dwight Howard is the very foundation on which the Orlando Magic franchise rests. But off late, the five time All-Star, who incidentally happens to be the best rebounder
in the league, has been at the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.
When The Magic revamped their offensive line up on December 18, by bringing in the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson and Earl
Clark; the general impression was that it they had done so, particularly to keep their star centre happy.
However, there is still a vibe every now and then that Howard’s days at the Sunshine state franchise might be numbered.
And it is not making the prolific centre happy at all.
Presently, Howard’s contract binds him to play for Magic till the 2012-13 season. But, as per the early termination clause, Howard has the option of bowing out become
a free agent after next season. In the last few weeks many reports have surfaced indicating that Howard might be toying with the idea of going to larger markets like New York or Los Angeles, should Orlando not win an NBA title this time around.
However, in the morning practice session before Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Howard re-iterated his commitment to the franchise.
Annoyed by the recent talk about his contract and the possibility he would leave Orlando when he becomes a free agent Howard completely rubbished the rumours.
“Yeah, I am annoyed,” Howard said. “I can’t sign a contract this year. I can’t sign anywhere this summer, so why keep bringing it up? Why are people talking about
me going any other place right now? Right now is about this season. It’s not about L.A., New York or whatever. I’m really tired of it. I don’t wanna be talking about where I’m gonna be playing basketball next or people in Orlando asking me ‘Are you going to
Dwight’s outburst was instigated when Magic fan messaged him on twitter.
“D12 be different. Stay in Orlando. You can own this city. See Jordan and Tim Duncan for examples.”
Howard responded back with: “I never said I wanted to leave stop reading the rumors. It’s really stupid. And annoying to be honest. They tryna make something outta
nothing I have another yr under my contract before I can sign.”
Howard said his situation should not be compared to what happened with Miami’s LeBron James in Cleveland or what is going on with Denver’s Carmelo Anthony because
they “have nothing to do with Dwight Howard.”
Orlando Magic at present forms the essential cog of Eastern Conference’s elite. Their performances this season though, have lacked the sort of spark and intensity,
which made them literally unstoppable in the last two seasons.
Howard however was hopeful of Orlando’s stakes this season and said that he really wants “to help this franchise win a championship.”
But while all the talk is going on about Howards’ possible future and the burly centre reacting with disdain at these rumours, the fact remains quite evident that
Howard has yet to sign a contract extension with the Magic.
For now, though, Howard said he isn’t thinking about the future – whatever it may hold.
“No. I think about tonight’s game and what we have to do to win a championship,” he said. “That’s the only thing on my mind.”