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Dwight Howard says he could have handled things better in final months with Orlando. You think?

Dec 1, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Dwight Howard will face his former team for the first time Sunday, when the Orlando Magic come to Los Angeles to take on his Lakers.

The two teams aren’t too far apart record-wise at the moment, with Orlando at 5-10 and L.A. at just 8-8 after a tumultous start to their season. No one expects it to end up that way of course, because while the Lakers are almost certain to turn things around in plenty of time to make a run deep into the postseason, Orlando is almost certain to be lottery-bound given the talent left on its roster after Howard departed.

There’s no way around the fact that the way Dwight forced his way out of town has plenty to do with the state his former team finds itself in today, never mind the emotional damage he did to the fans of Orlando throughout the process.

After Saturday’s practice, Howard admitted that things could have gone differently had he handled things better.

From Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

“I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could’ve done better. There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides,” Howard said in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview after Los Angeles Lakers practice on Saturday. “But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we’ve got to move forward.

Howard didn’t want to elaborate on what he or the Magic could have done differently during the excruciating process that led to his trade to the Lakers in August.

“It doesn’t really matter to talk about it now. It’s over and done with,” he said. “There are a lot of things we both could’ve done, but at the end of the day, it happened just the way it was supposed to happen. There was a reason behind everything. We might not see it or understand it at the time, but there was a reason why everything happened the way it happened and I think it made both parties stronger.”

Not exactly.

It’s not worth rehashing the whole situation at this point, considering it’s one that has been dissected repeatedly both while it was happening and in the months since. But to say that both parties are stronger is factually incorrect, to put it politely.

The Magic are a disaster. They are in a full-blown rebuild mode now, after reaching the NBA Finals just four seasons ago. The team fired its general manager and head coach over this mess, and it’s all because of the way Howard continually went back and forth on what he wanted, while holding the franchise hostage during the decision-making process.

Sunday’s game was originally scheduled to be televised nationally on NBA TV, but the league removed it from the schedule eight days ago. The reason is that there’s no intrigue here — the Lakers are worlds away from the Magic at this point, and watching Howard and his new teammates beat up on the rubble that he helped turn the Magic into wouldn’t be interesting to anyone.

It’s understandable that Howard would be asked about the way he left Orlando the day before he’s set to face his former team for the first time. But if he really wants to begin to make up for what he did there last season, the best thing to do would be to stop talking about it altogether.

  1. rayray5227 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Fan of his game. But not if the way he carries himself. Now that’s he’s with the Lakers, hopefully that will change. Same problem with LBJ, this new age of athletes need to do less fraternizing and show more competitiveness to be greater than the other.

  2. cltjump - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    No, really?

  3. tfoz5150 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I don’t know where else to post this on this site, but I can’t stand the Chicago Bulls. From their blowhard coach, to that whiny bi?ch Noah. They’re just a bunch of crybaby’s, that’s it. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • 00maltliquor - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:58 AM

      Whaa? I mean…huh? LMAO, that was soooo random!! LOL I love it! I don’t agree with your statement but I love how that came way out of left field!

  4. ch8878 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    1 word – “classless.”

  5. manchestermiracle - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Howard is obviously in dire need of someone to advise him on most issues, but the bottom line is that “Orlando is almost certain to be lottery-bound given the talent left on its roster after Howard departed.” That says it all: Howard was all they had and he finally gave up on them ever getting him any help. But everyone wants to make it all about Howard, as if him staying on that backwater of a club would have solved anything. It takes two to tango, but the lazy just shoot at the easy target.

    Could he have handled the situation better? Sure. Could Magic management have done a better job? Most certainly. But go ahead and forget that Howard gave them years to acquire someone, anyone, to play alongside him and that they failed miserably. Go ahead and make it all about Howard, if that makes you feel better.

  6. magicbucs - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    @manchester…
    How did the magic fail miserably? They made the finals, won more games than all but 3 teams since 2007. They didn’t win a championship but until last 2 seasons only 3 teams have won championships since 2007.

    You’re right Dwight had every right to leave. Especially since Otis smith downgraded talent every season.

    What magic fans and central Florida residents are bothered by is that he lied on national TV. “I want to make everything better for this city” “make everything right” ….that speech he gave to magic fans and the city was a big lie.

    He should of just said to management Trade me now instead of opting in for another season.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      That team was blown up and rebuilt multiple times since Howard got there. I’ve documented the Magic’s management woes on here before. Howard was the reason they won games. Howard was the reason they made the finals. Successful teams find ways to surround franchise players with talent (see, oh I don’t know, the Lakers?). Orlando kept stringing Howard along and then got butt-hurt when he did the same thing to them.

    • cosanostra71 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      “How did the magic fail miserably?”

      They signed Rashard Lewis to a $120 million contract.

  7. allen227 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    A little late now.

  8. fineathletics - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    Reblogged this on Fine Athletics and commented:
    interesting article

  9. nokoolaidcowboy - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Remember when he threw Van Gundy under the bus? Then he comes out during the coach’s Q&A and puts his arm around him and basically asks “What’s up fellas?”. That was both hilarious and embarrassing.

  10. omniusprime - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    This is so irrelevant, time for Brett to wise up and move on. What a stupid excuse for an article Brett, then again you’re a sports pundit so we can’t expect better.

    While Dwight could have handled the Orlando Tragic situation better so could have the Tragic’s arrogant, ignorant management that never gave Dwight the kind of team support needed to win a championship. Dwight was smart to get away from the Tragic’s loser management and come to LA where the Lakers know how to put together championship teams.

    As for the loser Tragic fans, hey you could do better too finding a much better team to root for, like the LA Lakers!

    Go Dwight!!! Go Kobe!!! Go Lakers!!! Go Away Dumbtoni!!!

  11. mrheavychevy - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    I’d like to see them play the magic

  12. metrocritical - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    To manchestermiracle and other apologists:

    Understand the very simple distinction between what one does and how one does it. Both LJ and DH had the opportunity to make career decisions in a manner that was consistent with serving their own personal interests and basic principles of public relations, class, grace and dignity. They both advanced their own purposes fully but failed in the other aspects miserably and, in the case of Howard, awkwardly, cowardly and childishly. He could’ve been a decisive and strong. He could’ve been diplomatic. He could’ve left a year earlier. Instead, he chose to waver and flip flop and whine on his way out of town. Inarguably, he had every right to leave and force his way out, as necessary. He even had a right to be brutish, selfish and clumsy along the way. But he has no grounds to complain when his lousy behavior is criticized by observers and any defense of his manner of departure only serves to demean those who strain to support him.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

      “apologists?” I’ve never defended Howard, no matter how you spin it in your head. You, and others, criticize him for not being what Orlando management wasn’t, either. Rather one-sided argument. The simple fact that the Magic are now considered lottery-bound says volumes about that team’s utter failure to take advantage of Howard’s presence.

      Bagging on Howard for leaving that fiasco, no matter how poorly he did it, ignores the elephant in the room. Orlando’s management is incompetent, inconsistent, and hardly in a position to blame Howard for doing to them what they had been doing to him.

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