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Dwight Howard says he wants to stay, finish season with Magic

Mar 13, 2012, 11:55 PM EST

Magic center Howard walks off the Magic's home basketball court after their NBA game against the Heat in Orlando Reuters

Do the Orlando Magic feel like gambling?

After the Orlando Magic came up with a dramatic 104-98 win over the Miami Heat, Dwight Howard said he wants to play the rest of the season with Orlando. Not sign an extension and stay — he wants the Orlando Magic to “roll the dice” on him.

Here is his exact quote.

“Well, I told those guys, I’ve been telling them for the past two or three weeks now that I want to stay and finish the season,” Howard said.

“I told them I feel we have a great opportunity to win and I told them that I want to be here and I want to bring a championship here. I told them they’ve got to give me that chance. They didn’t trade me at the beginning of the season and I told them I’d go out and play as hard as I could every night to put our team in a position to win….

“We’ve been talking for a while,” he said. “I told them that I want to finish this season out and give our team and our fans some hope for the future. I feel they have to roll their dice. It might be tough, but I feel like we have a great opportunity. They’ve got to roll it.”

However, Howard would not discuss anything beyond this moment. He would not talk extension or future plans.

That’s a heck of bet on the roll of the dice — if Orlando keeps him past the trade deadline Howard can opt out of his deal next summer and walk away and the Magic will get nothing. They will be in the same boat as Cleveland after LeBron James and Toronto after Chris Bosh. Maybe worse.

Keeping him seems to be the way the Magic are leaning, with the orders coming from owner Rich DeVos himself.

I think that’s just what Howard wants — he wants the ability to leave as a free agent this summer.

Howard saw what happened to the New York Knicks when the roster was gutted to make way for Carmelo Anthony. Howard wants to win titles and if the Nets get to keep Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, a couple first round picks and whatever else might be thrown in a trade package they are a lot closer to the Heat and Bulls than they are without them. Lopez and those picks might be traded to round out the roster, but you have assets.

Howard is not so sinister as to be plotting to screw over the Magic and their fans, he just wants to keep all his best options open. This does that. It also makes it easier for him to leave without damaging where he lands.

I’m not alone thinking this. Here is what Adrian Wojnarowski wrote earlier at Yahoo.

“Dwight’s gone, and [Magic CEO] Alex Martins is the only person who doesn’t believe that,” a league source with knowledge of Howard’s intentions told Yahoo! Sports….

Said another official, who has been involved in deal talks with Orlando, New Jersey and the agents in the process: “Dwight is going to [expletive] them, and that will be especially true if he doesn’t even ask for the sign-and-trade on July 1, because he wants Brooklyn to keep assets.”

Ken Berger at CBSSports.com wrote the Magic’s plan is to try and trade for players to go with Howard and make him want to stay, then if they can’t make a deal along those lines decide on Thursday their plans. However, with the win over the Heat and Howard asking to stay, the owner may well roll the dice on Howard.

It’s a big gamble, one where it could come up craps for the Magic in July.

Do the Magic feel lucky?

  1. spytdi - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    What a punk.

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM

      New Jersey is going to be fun to watch for the next decade…

      • hoytdadd64 - Mar 14, 2012 at 2:19 AM

        New Jersey? The next decade…? I thought they were becoming the Brooklyn Wanna Be Knicks?

    • brooklynbulls - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      In other words “Dont inconvenience me by forcing me to relocate twice and dont inconvenience my new team by making them part with their players. Screw you when you end up with nothing to show for it”……selfish

  2. claymatthewsisonsteroids - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    This guy is more indecisive than my wife. What a drama queen…

  3. hay1111 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Orlando’s dumb not to trade him. He’s gone, get SOMETHING for him Magic!

  4. darealrandolph - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    brooklyn nets

  5. jattsoorma - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    He is such a prick, its obvious he wants to go to new jersey, this is just a tactic to help the nets keep their assets so they can get him for free in the off season. He is watching whats going on with melo as the knicks had to trade away everything for him and now suck. he doesnt care about orlando at all, he just wants to protect his future team, in his mind he is as good as gone.

  6. trueballs - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I think the Magic’s best move is to try and get Bynum. Put the pressure on Dwight to see if he’ll actually leave Kobe & Pau in the offseason for Deron Williams and the circus act in Brooklyn. Leaving a contendor (more or less) for a team way below .500.

    • hoytdadd64 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:35 AM

      As a Laker fan I would rather not take the gamble on Howard. You exchange one top center for another, and the latter leaves in the off season, you’re completely screwed worse then you were in the Chris Paul deal. Drama Queen Howard’s game is painfully obvious at this moment, he is going to Brooklyn!! Drew is playing great ball right now and so far he’s staying healthy, I think the safer bet is to stick with him.

      • bushido49ers - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:08 AM

        We don’t need Howard. We already have a true NBA Center complete with post moves and most importantly free throws.

      • mannyfresh209 - Mar 14, 2012 at 2:02 AM

        Imagine if Howard would hit all his FT’s. He’d appear to be even more dominant than he already is.

  7. sneakd29 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    When he leaves this summer and becomes a free agent and the Magic don’t receive any compensation for him they deserve to be left with nothing

  8. doctorfootball - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    Hope the Magic front office is smart enough to read between the lines of what Howard said. Howard is basically saying, “Don’t trade me. I don’t want the Nets to have to give up their whole team for me. And, I won’t make the playoffs with the Nets this season. So keep me here. Let me play through the playoffs with the Magic. Then I’ll leave Orlando high and dry by signing with the Nets without giving back any compensation.”

  9. leib15 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    How about Dwight “rolls the dice” that they will become a serious contender, and sign an extension now.

  10. hoodheisman - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Now it’s getting interesting…. Howard’s suddenly bull sh/tting the media (as if he’s preparing for his farewell)…. Kobe’s suddenly showcasing Bynum and even tells the media he’s “passing the torch” (who are we kidding)…. the Warriors drop the hammer on Ellis (essentially dropping out of the Howard sweepstakes)…. something definitely happened…. and I’ll go out on a limb and guess Howard and Bynum are involved…

  11. cowboychris5xchamps - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    D. Howard will be in Dallas with next D. Williams next year. Williams has made it clear he won’t resign with the Nets and why would he? The cost of living and taxes over there are absurd! No state tax in Texas, better weather and better looking women too!

  12. trueballs - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    As Mike Wallace pointed out, he could also go the CP3 option and pick up his extra year. Stay through 2013 and then hit the market, still giving Orlando a chance to acquire a big piece and make a dep run. The Magic, tonight, looked like a greater threat to the Heat than the Bulls. Anything can happen. (but everything I just said will not happen)

  13. mjagosports511 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    “We’ve been talking for a while,” he said. “I told them that I want to finish this season out and give our team and our fans some hope for the future.”

    what a crock…don’t talk about the future if you don’t want to be a part of it

  14. ezmagic - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    The nets don’t need to gut their team..They only have 1 good player and thats D Will. The whole team is scrubs. They wouldn’t be gutting anything but a bunch of scrubs in a trade anyway. Dwight knows right now with him, the magic are more a contender than with him going to the nets with D will and an un-gutted team. They’ll be like the Knicks.

    • kxlllxst - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      marshon brooks is a beast and with dwight, lopez would be a contributor again

  15. namriverrat69 - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    I can’t be the only one who is sick of Howard’s whining from day to day about where he wants to play today. Just shut up and play and deal with management behind closed doors, not in the news.

  16. kxlllxst - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    he has to be furious that they didn’t land monta ellis somehow. that would have been them giving him his chance that he’s demanding. even if they didn’t win the chip, it’d have been enough to keep him. i don’t see how they do now, i’d trade him

  17. davidly - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    A couple days ago (before Wojo) I said the same thing about him not wanting to weaken his destination team in a trade and got about a gazillion thumbs-downseses, probably from the likes of those who spend all their time ripping on each other’s momseses and battling over which player’s penis not to have in their mouths, all the while with some other player’s penis in their mouths and with no capital letters.

    I love also how people whine and moan about Howard whining and moaning; all they have to go on is rumor and speculation, all the quotes and interviews of record contain no such whine. Gotta love sports fans.

    And, oh yeah. Skibby MaRue finished his playin’ days with the team what got ‘im.

  18. metalhead65 - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    they should screw him first and trade him to the bobcats for a bag of used basketballs or whatever they can get for him. make him suffer a litttle before he heads to the nets in the off season.

  19. gmsingh - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Dwight Howard has one thing in common with LeBron: winning is secondary to walking around the court with a sh*t eating grin on his face. I guess when this much money is being tossed around to these players why should the game itself have much meaning anymore.

  20. jagrbomb18 - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Someone tell this dude to shut up and worry about playing basketball….who does he think he is anyway…you are a PLAYER…the GM decides if he wants to trade you and when…this is what’s wrong with this league and one of the reason I can’t stand it

    • berto55 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      if you can’t stand the NBA, why are you on an NBA news site? I don’t like figure skating so I don’t go on figure skating sites…I’m confused

  21. stoutfiles - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    If they don’t trade Howard the Magic GM should be fired. Trade him now for somebody, anybody! This is Shaq all over again.

  22. 1historian - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    “I think that’s just what Howard wants – he wants the ability to leave as a free agent this summer.”

    You FINALLY figured that out?

  23. namriverrat69 - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    On the other hand, in the 1995-1996 season Wayne Gretzky asked the LA Kings for a trade because he was not going to resign with them after that season. After playing 62 games that year the Kings traded Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues for three players and a couple of draft picks. Craig Johnson was the only player of any quality who stuck with the Kings for 7 more years. When Wayne left LA the fans loved him because they understood what he was doing. He was fair with them over his asking to be traded. The Kings weren’t left empty handed when Wayne left.

    Howard has made it so clear he is not interested in staying there after the season ends. Depending on which day of the week it is he says where he wants to play. To lead on the Magic fanbase that he might still resign as he is saying wants to finish out the year where the team. The Magic get nothing if he signs with the Nets. He is being very disingenous with them.

    If the Magic don’t trade him and get something in return their GM should be fired.

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