Nearly immediately after David Stern muttered the words ‘tentative agreement’, the Dwight Howard trade rumours became the no.1 off court story in the league. That has not changed.
Over the past couple of months Howard has made it clear he does not think his ambitions match that of the Magic and is requesting a trade to a team that does. Howard has seen players like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James move on to greener pastures and franchises that will greater satisfy their desire to win. It looks to be time for him to do the same.
Following the Orlando’s awful 93-67 loss to the lowly Hornets last night, Howard spoke out on the Magic and his teammates, labelling them as unmotivated quitters.
“I look at guys and they don’t look like they want to play. I told them at halftime, ‘If you don’t want to play, just stay in the locker room, because it don’t make sense for a team who we should beat to just demolish us.’
It hurts to get out there and you play your hardest and you expect everybody to play the same way, and I’m not calling anybody out by no means because we all have to get better … but if you don’t want to be out there, don’t dress up. If you don’t want to play, stay home. People work too hard. I want to win a championship. I work too hard every night for anybody to not want to go out there and play hard. …
None of the — whatever, trade stuff — none of that stuff matters. Play basketball. That’s why we all get paid to do this, because we love the game and it’s basketball, so why not give it your all?
They killed us because they just played hard and they wanted it. Look at their roster, but they play hard every night. … They kicked our butts tonight, not because they’re a way better team than us, but because they play harder than us.”
Howard’s scathing attack on his teammates is likely to snowball, especially given the growing tabloid culture of American sport, and this looks to be the beginning of the end of Dwight Howard in Orlando.
Personally, I was surprised Howard made it this far into the season, as it was clear to me he had no intentions of remaining with the Magic and would have made this abundantly clear to the Orlando management. However, I underestimated his unrelenting desire to be loved by everyone, regardless of what that means for his title ambitions, and instead of hurting his image by following through with his trade requests he became impartial and passive on the subject.
The Nets, Lakers, Clippers and Mavericks are all on Howard’s wish list for trades, and is only willing to sign an extension with these four teams, thus largely ruling out the rest of the league.
Despite this, I can definitely see a few other teams joining the fray before the trade deadline. For the life of me I cannot understand why Chicago have not offered a package involving Joakim Noah and anything but Derrick Rose for D12. A combination of Rose and Howard would be one of the greatest guard-center tandems in NBA history.
The Celtics’ championship window has closed and their ageing stars are on the verge of retirement. Danny Ainge is never one to go quietly, and I still see Boston attempting to get involved. Obviously they do not really have the pieces to interest Orlando, other than Rajon Rondo, but if they could get another team or two involved, they may be able to strike a deal with the Magic.
Nonetheless, it seems Howard’s tenure in Orlando is rapidly approaching it’s expiration date.
Howard has made and retracted statement after statement regarding his future, his wishes and his supposed behind the scenes demands. He has, thus far, put aside his ambitions to win to ensure his position as one of the most liked athletes in America. It seems he can no longer go along with the charade that he is different to the others he has so criticised and mocked.
Dwight Howard, stop kidding yourself, you’re no better than Shaquille O’Neal. Infact you’re worse.
At least he was honest about it.
Topics: Basketball, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls, Chris Paul, Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Lebron James, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, NBA, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, NY Knicks, Orlando Magic, Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O, Shaquille O'neal