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Magic give Howard until end of Wednesday to sign on for another year, or they trade him

Mar 14, 2012, 6:21 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Orlando Magic Getty Images

UPDATE 6:21 pm: Dwight Howard has told teammates he is in for this season and reportedly told both some teammates and the Orlando Magic front office he would “opt-in” and play for them next season.

The Magic are not going to take his word for it — they have given Howard until the end of the day Wednesday to sign paperwork that does away with his early termination option for this summer or they will work hard to trade him before the deadline Thursday at 3 eastern. That’s the report from David Aldridge at NBA.com.

The request (to stay) was a “complete surprise” to the Magic, according to a league source. So was Wednesday’s declaration. But Orlando is not convinced Howard genuinely wants to stay.

The Magic have asked Howard for months to commit just to playing next year. His sudden acquiescence, a day before the trade deadline, is being viewed skeptically by the Magic — hence the demand that both Howard and agent Dan Fegan sign by Wednesday evening.

Dwight Howard, you can’t just say nice things here. You have to sign on the line that is dotted.

And if he does not, if this was all lip service about the Magic but was really about keeping his options open, he will vault past LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the most disliked NBA player by many fans. You should know also that unlike Kobe (who relishes it) and LeBron (who has grown used to it), Howard really does not want to be seen as a villain.

3:18 pm: Dwight Howard is apparently very serious about staying with the Magic for the rest of this season — and maybe the next one. Or not;.

Howard has informed teammates he is all in for this year but did not mention future years. He reportedly told Magic officials he will opt-in to stay with the team next season, but nobody has seen the paperwork yet. Some reports are conflicting on the details but Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated tweeted this:

As first reported by WFTV in Orlando, sources confirm Dwight Howard told teammates & confidantes he will play final option year of contract

Multiple other sources have now confirmed parts of this. He apparently called a meeting with teammates on the road in San Antonio to inform them he would not leave this season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. Howard also took the meeting to talk about what each player needed to do to win the NBA title this season.

Until Howard officially signs paperwork that formally removes the Early Termination Option for next year from his deal he could change his mind and leave after this season. Multiple reports say that paperwork is in his hands but has not been filed. The Magic are listening to trade offers until they get that paperwork.

Howard would take a big risk changing his mind —  if he did that Howard would zoom past LeBron James on the “hated basketball player” scale and Howard wants to be liked by fans more than LeBron ever did.

Even if he signs to opt-in he will be a free agent after next season (the summer of 2013), so consider this just a reprieve for the Magic. They still have to prove they can win with him, but Orlando now has another year to improve the roster.

Following an All-Star Weekend where the city showed him a lot of love — and a dramatic win over the Miami Heat that showed the Magic may well be the third best team in the East — Howard is willing to give them that chance.

In New Jersey, you can start the Deron Williams trade rumors in 5….4….3…2…1….

  1. mdpickles - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Dwight Howard’s new name is Jonny Drama.

    • raiderdave - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      VICTORY!!!!

    • fouldwimmerlaik - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:00 AM

      I hear Diva Howard is trending these days…

  2. teke184 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Dump him, Orlando.

    He has not shown himself to be trustworthy enough to live up to his word. If he isn’t traded, he’ll pull a Carlos Boozer and walk after promising he’d return.

    • md23rewlz - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      What has he done that isn’t trustworthy? The whole “putting up a great season in the face of constant rumors” thing? If only all players were that untrustworthy.

      • aqzi - Mar 14, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        Good point. Steve Nash is the epitome of the trustworthy All-Star this season and look where that’s gotten Phoenix.

        Nevertheless, he isn’t “trustworthy enough to live up to his word,” as teke184 stated, because of the reasons highlighted in the article:

        “The Magic have asked Howard for months to commit just to playing next year. His sudden acquiescence, a day before the trade deadline, is being viewed skeptically by the Magic.”

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      Howard = Rental

    • manwithpizza - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      Ummm…. The trustworthy all- stars would not win a game in the NBA. If he signs on for another year, you have to keep him. If he doesn’t though, get what you can.

  3. cured76 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    This is good news for Orlando fans. But why didn’t he nip this thing in the bud long ago? I’m very curious to see if this report is true and if he actually keeps his word. I’m almost more curious to see if we’ll repeat all of this next season.

    But if he does stay, Mikhail Prokhorov is going to throw a hissy fit. Deron Williams will just leave and sign with the Mavericks.

  4. chiadam - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    And the puppets danced. Howard must be loving this. In fact, he loves it so much that he will put us through the exact same nonsense next season.

    • goforthanddie - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      Nah, they know he has no contract after next year, so he can’t hold them hostage.

  5. karlton2 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    If he is serious he needs to either exercise it now, or if he can’t, he needs to sign a new contract (extension?) providing for a 2012 year with identical terms but no opt out clause.

    Call his bluff.

  6. bearsstillsuck - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Just trade him already to the best deal you can get.

    • savvybynature - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      Nah. Let him sign the paperwork for next year, THEN trade him. Would open up the market to a lot more teams if they were getting him for at least 1 1/2 seasons.
      Plus, would be a hilarious bit of irony.

      • raidmagic - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        That would be pretty damn funny.

        School me here though. There is something he has to sign to do this? That will prevent him from Boozering the Magic,right?

      • savvybynature - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Him and his representation (agent) have to sign to waive his opt-out right.

      • dadawg77 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        Even better (as a Bulls fan but also on the hilarious scale) trade him for Boozer plus some other assets.

      • thetooloftools - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        that would be a scream !

      • goforthanddie - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        Exactly what I was thinking.

  7. cdins - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Used to like him for being a carefree fun player. Now i cannot stand him.

  8. md23rewlz - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Wait, so we have to go through another year of this stuff? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  9. lmoneyfresh - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Word is he said nothing about next year. Said he’s in for “this” year. Same old garbage.

    • dragyn44 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      He is going to sign a paperwork to remove the opt-out clause in his contract for the end of the season. He will be under contract through 2012-2013 season. My only question is he going to put a no trade clause in it?

  10. Best kept secret - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    if its true nets better trade d-will. no way he stays. he will be dallas bound. as a nba fan i was excited to see a tandem of d-will and dwight in brooklyn but i guess thats not happening. with nba and nfl this week has been nuts.

  11. dirtybird2020 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Way to man up! My nigga!

  12. tomshoe - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOO MR. DEVOS! DON’T FALL FOR IT! HE’S JUST TRYING TO SCREW YOU OVER! PLEASE TRADE HIM AND GET WHATEVER YOU CAN! DON’T TRUST A THING HE SAYS!

  13. lakerluver - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Two words best describe Howard: PRIMA DONNA. As for D. Will, Jersey better trade him now or loose him to Dallas in the offseason. How about D. Will for Pau straight up?

  14. spurstar210 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I read he didnt wanna be traded to the Lakers cause media would say he’s following too closely in Shaqs footsteps but if all he wants to do is win he wouldve accepted that a long time ago. I expect this in the WNBA. Drama Queen

  15. cured76 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Wojnarowski tweeted that a Magic player told him next season didn’t come up and that he said he was “all in” for THIS season.

    https://twitter.com/#!/wojyahoonba

    • alexb64 - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      I don’t know much about this story, but I do know that Adrian Wojnarowski has a reputation for being full of crap. He’s the “anonymous source” king even in situations where he’s either obviously lying or the most gullible schmuck on the planet in believing stories.

      • manwithpizza - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:48 PM

        Examples?

      • alexb64 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:16 PM

        Google?

  16. asublimeday - Mar 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Nope, I’d still hate lebron more.

  17. ezmagic - Mar 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Just like I posted a couple days ago!! He’s staying in Orlando. It was all to bring attention to Orlando. D Will will sign as a free agent with the magic in the offseason and Dwight will sign long term also!!

  18. edgarh21 - Mar 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    I don’t think he would be #1. People dislike Lebron for more than 1 reason maybe #2

  19. jagwar73 - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    D12 aka Diva Howard!

  20. savvybynature - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Man, this guy is dieing for someone to be more disliked than Bron-bron and Kobe-Beef.
    D12 is not under the spotlight like James and Kobe. You can’t be more disliked when you aren’t as well known. More people probably dislike James than even know what team D12 plays for.

  21. kenyanteg123 - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the Orlando Magic front office chose to be A Holes and send Dwight to a terrible team?

    • losangelasbasketball - Mar 14, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      like Orlando…

      • kenyanteg123 - Mar 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        Can’t get any worse than that…

  22. lakerluver - Mar 14, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    P R I M A D O N N A !!!!!

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