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Report: Dwight Howard signed with Magic to avoid trade to Lakers

Apr 6, 2012, 12:24 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Reports had surfaced long before the trade deadline that Dwight Howard had ruled out going to the Lakers. Maybe it was a meeting with Kobe Bryant that rubbed him the wrong way (Kobe allegedly told Howard he would be the third option on offense). Maybe it was him not wanting to follow in Shaquille O’Neal’s footsteps.

But apparently Howard’s distaste for going to the Lakers was so strong the Magic were able to use it as leverage to get him to waive his option year and stay in Orlando.

That is what the New York Post is reporting.

According to league sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Orlando brass got fed up with Howard’s yes-no-maybe posturing and threatened to trade him to the Lakers, not his desired location (the Nets), if he did not sign an agreement to waive the opt-out clause for the final season of his contract. Howard eventually signed the papers, but only after he was told “he would be a Laker by the end of the day,” according to one source.

Howard was waffling before the threat — he was not fully ready to force his way out of Orlando to the Nets and come out of it the bad guy. He does like Orlando, but he wants to win and likes the idea of New York. He changed his mind a few times. So…

Orlando played its trump card. Sources for months maintained Howard wanted no part of the Lakers, that he did not want to follow the legacy of Shaquille O’Neal. Orlando leaders had one other reason for the threat: They favored the Lakers’ package of Andrew Bynum, Devin Ebanks and Steve Blake over the Nets’ offer.

When was the last time you remember a free agent trying hard to avoid going to the Lakers? That said, you may want to take a grain of salt with the report — whether this was the determining factor or one smaller factor among many can be up for debate.

What is not up for debate is Magic have real problems — Howard’s feud with coach Stan Van Gundy has gone public in an ugly way. That combined with the state of the roster (not a contender and not close to being one) and it is going to be hard to keep Howard around after his contract is up in 2013.

If he is going to bolt then, the Magic have to trade him, ideally this summer before the circus comes back to town next season. And you can bet that Lakers package is still on the table.

Oh, things are a hot mess in Orlando right now.

  1. cured76 - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Dwight is soft emotionally. Kobe will rip him to shreds when he sees Dwight is more about being the nice guy who won’t develop his offensive game than what Bynum has already accomplished for himself in that regard. Not a good fit. Let the Nets have him, he can be their problem.

    • md23rewlz - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Yeah, Bynum’s three point stroke is pretty killer compared to Howard’s. I’m sorry, but are people actually trying to say that Bynum is a better player than Howard? Let him be the Nets problem? In what universe is Howard a problem? Howard is clearly better than Bynum defensively, better at rebounding, better at scoring, better at joining huddles, better at having knees that aren’t made of glass. I know Laker fans have to spin it a certain way, but if they actually had traded for Howard, LA fans would have been ecstatic. For all of the back-and-forth annoyance that Howard has caused, he’s still a clear upgrade and had the Lakers traded for him, they would have been taken very seriously to as a candidate to win the West.

      As for Howard being soft (seen in other posts), I really have no clue what that even means. Is Bynum tougher because he plays dirty from time to time? Is he considered less than soft because he can chuck J.J. Barea into the ground with ease? Plenty of supposedly “soft” players have won titles. Dirk did it last year. Duncan was considered soft for a long time before he started winning rings (everybody killed him for not having a killer instinct). This Dwight-Howard-is-soft thing is a media angle spun out by the likes of Bill Simmons and others because Howard does not fit their stereotypical banger center–he’s a nice guy, he smiles a lot, and therefore that means he is soft and does not care about improving himself. The numbers do not bear out said softness, but heck, let us all just judge on some strange intangible thing that is impossible to prove and thus impossible to disprove.

  2. dolphinatic - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Thats fine with me. I would rather have Bynum any day. Mad skills in the low post that Howard will never Have. I just hope we don’t get the same act next yr when Andrew is in his contract yr. Howard and the coach get into it he gets 8 and 8. Bynum gets into it with his coach and throws up 36 and 8. GO LAKESHOW!

  3. teedraper - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Just further proves what a weak minded wuss DH is. Only an idiot like him chooses the Nets over a franchise that has won & played for an NBA title since the 60’s.

  4. acdc363 - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Yeah I would imagine Lakers fans are fine with this.

  5. darealrandolph - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Lakers has Andrew Bynum maybe get Rajon Rondo in the off season and the Brooklyn Nets will acquire Dwight Howard in the off season to pair with Deron Williams going to the new arena in Brooklyn.

    • illegalblues - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      u kidding me? lakeshow is def gonna get derrick rose for maybe ron artest and reggie miller is coming out of retirement to team with ROCKY in brooklyn. the russians won’t know what hit em

      • darealrandolph - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Deron Williams would love to play for his home town team but it not going to happen cuz their no young star that going to join him Dallas therefore i see Deron Williams staying in Brooklyn and also you will see Dwight Howard leave Orlando through a trade in the off season cuz Orlando newspaper,fans will blame him for SVG and Otis smith firing which he wants no involvement and Brooklyn Nets will have young prospects to give Orlando (Brook Lopez, if the land him in the draft Anthony Davis,Marshon Brooks plus take Hedo Turkgolu of there books) in that case you will see Deron Williams and Dwight Howard opening up the new arena in Brooklyn not Dallas

      • illegalblues - Apr 8, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        smh homie, u reading all the wrong rags, g. deron williams wants to play for the yankees’, b. straight roaming center field. put me in coach, i’m ready 2 play

      • darealrandolph - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        lame bro

  6. hwatt - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    well, the 10 year outlook on the Lakers is not good. What happens when Kobe leaves? Howard would have been the only superstar there. He already knows what that’s like in Orlando. And the Laker’s front office won’t be anywhere near as favorable to him as Orlando’s.

    • primesinister - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Yeah, because Mitch Kupchak is going to wake up one day in a few years and say,”Kobe’s retiring? Never saw that one coming.” Trust me, Lakers will have a plan. They have consistently shown their ability to rebuild.

    • giselleisasucubus - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      I hate the Lakers as a Celtic fan, but in the spirit of Wes Mantooth, I hate them but damn it, I respect the hell out of them. They’ll rebuild like they always do, but this time, the Celtics arent going to disappear. BTW, I think Laker fans can forget about Rondo and shift the focus to Deron Williams. I can see Howard relenting, going to LA with DWill, and the Lakers will move Bynum(he wont go to Orlando) AND Gasol (He’ll be the centerpiece of the Howard deal due to $$)to make room for them. W/the C’s, I dont know what the hell they are going to do, but they have good guards to build around and cap room. Should be an interesting offseason.

  7. primesinister - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    We Laker fans really dodged the bullet there. He’s better than Bynum but he’s not worth the headache, plus he simply does not have the heart to play with Kobe.

    • cured76 - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      He’s better defensively but Bynum is clearly better on offense. Laker fans may recall beating Orlando in the finals a few years back and thinking “When Dwight develops a post game, he’s going to be unstoppable.” Fast forward 3 years and he is the same player. Bynum, on the other hand, is stepping up on a team that already has one of the all-time great scorers taking most of the shots. Bynum will one day take that mantle as the next Laker great because he put the work in, got better, and earned it.

    • md23rewlz - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      I really don’t understand where people are coming up with this stuff. How is Howard a headache? Prior to this season, when had Dwight Howard done anything even remotely headache-inducing (other than having a few run-ins with his coach, and heyo, there’s Andrew Bynum waving from the sidelines while the rest of his team is in the huddle)? He’s a headache THIS year because of the whole contract thing, but had he been OK with going to the Lakers and had they put him under contract, there would have been no headache. As for having the “heart” to play with Kobe, I don’t even know what that means. You know what’s cooler than having heart? Having the best center in the NBA. As an unbiased party (neither Laker nor Magic fan) I just don’t understand how you can seriously say that having Dwight Howard would have been anything but a great thing.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        You don’t understand the notion of having the heart to play with Kobe? Really, you can’t even surmise what that means? Well, Howard has cries like a little bitch every time Stan Van Gundy gets in his face a bit…imagine what would happen with Kobe.

      • cured76 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        You forget Howard already ran one coach out of town. This would be #2.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 6, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        md23 – I agree.
        This whole ‘heart to play with Kobe’ thing is just stupid. If Kobe was smart, he’d forgive the heart thing to allow the second best player in the NBA to play on his team. And while Howard is being very immature right now, there is no way he is worse than Bynum. That guy acts like a 2 year old.

        Anyways, now that we’re talking about ‘heart’, remember that Kobe desperately wants Odom back on his team. That dude is soft as butter. And the Lakers won a championship because Gasol was traded to the team, and Gasol has always been accused of playing soft.

        So let’s just put the Kobe influence argument to rest.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 6, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        Also, Howard is better than Bynum, even on the offensive side of the floor.

        Bynum never gets double teamed, b/c of Gasol. Gasol is the smartest, best short to mid-range shooting big man in the league, and teams simply cannot lay off of him, even though Bynum is a poor passer. Bynum can certainly set up post position, but his moves are obvious. If he were to be consistently double teamed, he’d probably be worthless on offense. He doesn’t have the vision to pass out of the post, a skill which Howard has developed over the years.

        Howard has been consistently double teamed over his career. The Magic’s entire system relies on 3pt shooting when Howard is doubled.
        THe rap on the Magic is that when the opposing team has a defender who can at least slow Howard done in single coverage, and shut down the rest of the Magic, they usually lose. Howard still plays well but a 30 & 15 game doesn’t cut it when the rest of your team doesnt score.

        I’m not saying Howard is a great post scorer (he’s not). But Bynum isn’t better. He’s the 3rd option on the team. If he were the go to guy, his efficiency would go way down.

        And Howard is infinitely better than Bynum on defense.

      • girlsinthesouthlovefootball - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:49 AM

        Hallelujah. Finally a comment that makes some sense.

  8. hoytdadd64 - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Is it me or is Dwight Howard is looking more and more like the T.O. of the NBA? The only thing missing from the drama this prima donna has created is a full work out in his drive way!

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    All this for a guy who can’t score unless it’s a dunk, and is a disaster from the line. And he’s a coach killer. Not worth

  10. shockexchange - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    He obviously did not want to be a member of “Robert Horry, Jr. and the Supremes.” No upside in it … Robert Horry, Jr. has to sing lead, has to take all the shots and when the Lakers lose, it’s all your fault.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:38 PM

      sock..that may be true but that fact remains the Lakers have played in 7 Finals since 1999. thats a very good track record. no reason to think the lakers can’t continue their success…even if you hate kobe or not.

  11. giantssb42champs - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    I wouldn’t be worried about the Lakers long-term. They are the Yankees of the NBA – everybody wants to play for them and win a title.

  12. 00maltliquor - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    What a coward, loser to the 3rd power! He’s supposed to be all about winning and winning now and he’d rather go to New freakin’ Jersey or stay in Orlando then to play for a championship right now with the team championships are associated with throughout the history of the NBA?? God, thank you!! Sooooo glad we dodged that bullet, what a spineless chump. I pray this isn’t a possibility next year. And seeing Bynum play day by day, getting better and better, IMO he’s already better then Dwight Coward.

  13. hail2tharedskins - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I call bullchit on that report. If Howard didn’t want to be traded to the Lakers he didn’t have to waive his option and sign with Orlando for another year. All he had to do was refuse to sign an extension with Lakers. The Lakers certainly weren’t going to trade Bynum if Howard didn’t sign a long-term extension with them, so he could have killed the trade by simply saying Im not signing with the Lakers and then he maintains his free agent option for this summer!

  14. cosanostra71 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    whatever Dwight. enjoy Brooklyn, I’m sure you’ll win a lot there based on their history.

  15. 16x8equal49ers - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I commend Howard for not following Shaq. It’s nice to see a player dislike the Lakers as much as many fans of the NBA do.

  16. ron05342 - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Yeah, the report is complete BS, Lakers will never make that trade unless Howard signs an extension.

    Since he won’t, there is no “Bynum package” on the table. Complete and utter BS.

    Don’t you guys ever vet these reports?

    • jigwig13 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      I agree and if he didn’t want to go to the lakers and they traded him there he could have just opted out and went to nj at the end of the season…doesn’t seem like a deal the lakers would have did with no extension

  17. Little Earthquake - Apr 6, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    LA: The NBA’s Siberia.

    • cured76 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      16 banners with 2 of the last 3…what does that make the rest of the league?

      • cosanostra71 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Little Earthquake you have a typo. It’s spelled “N-E-W-J-E-R-S-E-Y”, not “LA”

      • Little Earthquake - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:28 PM

        Right; it was a joke.

      • shockexchange - Apr 7, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        cured76 I think that would make the rest of the league the Lakers’ AAA farm system.

  18. loungefly74 - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    i’m with the guys on here who are okay with dwight not coming to LA. as a Laker fan, i’m very happy with Bynum (who has already helped with 2 titles).

    i’d like to know what dwight’s “ideal” situation is? is it to be in NJ playing with D-Will? if so, he kinda screwed himself signing that 1 year extension. so…it can’t be that. my personal opinion about dwight remains the same…stay in Orlando, be the centerpiece there for the next decade, have the Magic continue their efforts on building a good supporting cast (they are not that bad…just a couple cogs away from serious contention), and build a good solid relationship with the next coach (because we know Stan will be gone).

  19. bravecapeproductions - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I said it before, I’ll say it again, DW is a whiny little princess. I’m so glad no deal was made for him.

  20. bravecapeproductions - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I said it before, I’ll say it again, DH is a whiny little princess. I’m so glad no deal was made for him.

  21. mlblogsrickr2009 - Apr 6, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I suppose this is possible, but it doesn’t make any sense. If traded to the Lakers Howard would still be a free agent this summer. I think he could put up playing with Kobe for three months. And why would the Magic want Blake, this trade could have been made straight across, Howard for Bynum.

  22. cluelessdufus - Apr 6, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    some of these comments are stupid “oh he is just a dunker that can play D” then what is Blake Griffin isn’t he the greatest PF ever he only dunks he can’t play D. ya Ok lakers fans are so conceited losers how think there team has a future then all of these teams that are rising like my Bulls and the Nuggets and others will kick the lakers.All these Lakers fans won’t be once Kobe leaves no more Lakers fans won’t be talking about there team they will probably move on to the Clippers thinking there good NBA fans there band wagoners

    • cured76 - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      my eyes! they hurt!

    • cosanostra71 - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:01 PM

      I don’t think that it is stupid to say that we don’t want Dwight on the Lakers. Lane Kiffin, the USC football coach, had a great quote a while back when Seantrel Henderson abandoned the team after the sanctions. “We only want people here who came to be Trojans.” Likewise, if you don’t want to be a Laker, we don’t want you. Dwight shouldn’t worry about outside forces, he wouldn’t be “following in Shaq’s footsteps” if he came here and made his own story. A player with your type of talent can create your own storyline and legacy Dwight.

    • stayhigh_247 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      your name says it all…..

      • cluelessdufus - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        stayhigh what are saying about my name look at yours is STAYHIGH 247 you must be high Bynum isn’t consistent I see names that were on the formes that Jeremy Lin band wagon where did that go you overhype on a couple games and the Lakers are doomed

  23. bchapman2011 - Apr 6, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Dwight Howard is starting to give Lebron competition for the NBA’s most hated player.
    He is a two faced liar and I am so glad his coach called him out. As a Laker fan I am very happy that we kept Bynum. Andrew is a pain too, but on a much lower level.

  24. derekjetersmansion - Apr 6, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    I believe it.

  25. stayhigh_247 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Van Gundy’s a good coach, I expect him to be coaching the Clippers next season, he’s a native Cali kid anyway, anybody but Damphony!

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