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Dwight Howard wants to stay in Orlando but things must change

Jun 13, 2011, 11:16 AM EST

Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Getty Images

It’s really the same message he’s been sending for a while now, but in its most clear form yet.

Dwight Howard would love to stay a member of the Orlando Magic, but he is going to test the free agent market in 2012. If Orlando does not win a title or make a big step in that direction, he’ll have to consider his options next summer. He made that clear to the team owner Rich DeVos in a sit down meeting recently he said.

Howard was in Italy at the Eurocamp (where European NBA draft prospects work out for teams) on behalf of adidas when he spoke with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.

“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.”

That is hit and miss now, he said. But Howard was clear, his preference is to stay in Orlando.

“There’s no other place I’d rather be besides Orlando,” he said. “As of right now, that’s my home. I just want to stay in Orlando as long as I can.

“That’s the truth. I don’t have to keep things calm or anything. This is how I really feel in my heart. A lot of people want to see me go other places, but I want to stay in Orlando. I have a beautiful home there. There are beautiful people down there. My son is in Orlando. He’s getting a lot older and I want to be there to see as many moments as I can of his life.”

And if the Magic do not win the 2012 championship and the personality of the roster stays the same?

“Then things have to change,” Howard told NBA.com.

Changing the Orlando roster will not be easy. They had the second highest payroll in the NBA last season with $89.9 million. They already have $76.2 million on the books for next season — which would be over the luxury tax under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, let alone the new one — and they have the albatross of a contract belonging to Gilbert Arenas (three years, $63 million left on it).

Orlando has been aggressive in trying to reshape the roster for Howard, but not always smart about it. They have Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu (three years, $35 million left) who will be hard to move.

But the pressure is on to make something happen. Or another great big man will leave Orlando.

  1. edmazeing1 - Jun 13, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Sorry superman (no hard feeling shaq) but with magic players makeing so much that roster will pretty much b the same next year, so Howard will need to be superman,Batman & spiderman for them to win!!!

    • daydreamer3075 - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:57 AM

      It’s gonna be extremely tough for the Magic to shift their roster anytime soon, especially with agent zero’s huge friggin contact…..

  2. SmackSaw - Jun 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    LeBron for Howard

  3. sguy2130 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    I hope it works out for Orlando and he stays, but that roster isn’t going to change much, players will just have to get better and learn to play with each other. Shaq already bolted from Orlando, it would be sad to see another star do the same, and I’d rather any team in the East other than the Heat win it.

  4. diablito0402 - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    If you want to win a few championships come on down west to the staples center with the yellow and purple, play with the best player on the planet since jordan you know what i mean.

  5. baboushka - Jun 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    They are not as far away as many people think. Dallas just showed us, a lot of this is about 1 superstar and chemistry. Gilbert Arenas may surprise everyone next year and play much better after a full camp with the team. He actually started to come around in the playoffs. Their real problem is Jameer Nelson and the lack of a real power forward who can take some of the heavy lifting from Dwight and leave him free to roam. They need a young bruiser Power forward from the draft. Because that will be cheap. and they need to bring Jameer Nelson off the bench for points and energy as a 6th or 7th man. If his ego can’t handle it. Release him. Because he is too short and a liability as a starter. Arenas and Hedo will get better next year after working with Dwight in Camp.

    • acharlot5 - Jun 13, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      please dont expect much from this team in the draft.. besides dwight and shaq we havent gotten any good players from the draft and if we do dont worry they will be traded soon after (chris webber,courtney lee). I hope Howard stays and i agree with your statement about Arenas but even without a first round pick the magic will find a way to mess up in this years draft

    • jjstrokes - Jun 13, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      I agree that we need to replace Jameer; he can’ defend NBA PGs…. But the Magic are loaded with young talent at the 4spot. The problem is that they might have too much young talent at one position. Look for Mr. Anderson (Neo), Bass, & Earl Clark to all continue improving next season. Sounds like you think we can get somebody who’s as good down low as Gortat was, IMPOSSIBLE

      • baboushka - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        What Dwight may be telling DeVos is go hard after Chris Paul in 2012 and he will do a reworked deal like D Wade did, And if Gilbert Arenas cooperates too by sacrificing some short term money for a longer deal to get CP3 it may work out. If they can pull something like that off…develop the young 4’s mentioned above…and move Nelson to bring Heat off the bench ala Jason Terry. The Magic could become the most dangerous team in the East IMO. They would have the deepest bench in the East! And I am a Bull’s fan saying this.

  6. bcriz - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Come to the Heat

  7. rajbais - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Like firing Stan and getting a big man that plays like Serge Ibaka!!!

  8. diablito0402 - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Come to the heat? What sign a 8 year contract worth 16.5 million hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  9. clownsfan - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Change the coach. Change the roster. Make all the changes you want. It still won’t change that fact that Dwight has NO HEART.

  10. gcryall - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I think a step in the right direction to please Dwight would be to Get rid of Otis Smith. THe guy really sucks a a GM. This might convince Howard that some smart decisions would be made in the future to improve the team.

  11. oldhighs - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    As much as I like Noah, it would be really interesting to see the Bulls package their two first-rounders this year, possibly the first-rounder next year, Noah and Boozer to get Dwight.

    Rose – Howard – Deng – Brewer – Gibson with Bogans, Korver, Asik, and Big Sexy off the Bench would give them the offensive firepower and defensive prowess (particularly in the paint) they need to get past the Heat next season.

    Not sure if Orlando would want to touch Boozer’s contract, though. Still, if they want to move Dwight before he can LeBron them, they might as well get a high-energy, starting-caliber center like Noah in return. And Boozer, while somewhat inconsistent, isn’t a bad player by any stretch.

  12. philtration - Jun 13, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Bulls.
    If the Bulls can land Howard they will be the team to beat for the next 5 to 10 years.
    The thing is… the Magic are good and they can add something to win a title next year if they do it right.

  13. jpiro - Jun 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Howard to Chicago makes so much sense. Orlando could have Noah (a UF product with a ready-made fan base in Florida) and Boozer in the paint with Nelson on the outside along with Reddick, Turk, Arenas, etc.

    Chicago gets a young superstar at center who fits their defense-first style but can add a second scorer beyond Rose. Plus, they’ve got all the smaller pieces in place to be a complete team the moment Dwight arrives.

  14. yungdaz - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    I heard on the Dan Patrick show today that the Knicks and Magic are talking trades. So far the 2 players involved would be Howard and Stoudamire. I’d be happy with that being a huge Knicks fan. Bring the title back to New York. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

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