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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. mcjon22 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    Oh no, for the love of God, please PLEASE do not trade me to L.A. and make me play with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. I can’t stand the idea of having to play in front of Denzel and Jack and being forced to watch those hideous Laker girls shake and flaunt their goods in front of me every night.The thought of lifting that ugly, ridiculously heavy Larry O’brien trophy just sickens me. No, no, ANYTHING but that!

    Ignorant. Clueless. Dumb. D-12.

  2. edavidberg - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Dwight Howard would have to be a dumbass to fall for that. I can’t believe the Laker’s would trade Bynum for him unless he agreed to an extension.

    With that being said, he’s handled this whole deal like a dumbass so it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.

  3. bcb1999 - Apr 7, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Never seen a more insecure star player anywhere…

  4. tmancs4life - Apr 7, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    For real, who wants Dwight anymore?!? I used to like him but this year made me think what Lebron did was better! He played out is contract and didn’t demand anything while his best teammates were Mo Williams and Anthony Parker! As a guy who likes the Magic I hope they trade him in the offseason to the Lakers for Bynum or try to get a package like the Nuggets got for Melo. Btw I love SVG for telling reporters the truth and making Dwight look like a fool! lol

  5. darealrandolph - Apr 7, 2012 at 4:10 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 or even LA.

  6. bobgeezer - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    And it’s still possible Howard will be on the same court with Nash, Kobe and Pau in a year . . .

    Want to bet a month’s salary on that outcome?

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