Dwight Howard Wants to Stay in Orlando
Dwight Howard may have pushed the proverbial ball into the Orlando Magic’s court tonight.
After a 104-98 overtime win against the Miami HEAT, Howard revealed that despite the NBA’s March 15 trade deadline looming, he’s told the Magic that he would like to finish the season in Orlando, and believes the team can contend as currently constructed.
“I told these guys what I’ve been telling them for the past two or three weeks now,” Howard explained. “ I want to stay and finish the season.”
“I told them I feel we’ve got a great opportunity to win and I told them that I want to be here. I want to bring a championship here and 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 was going to go out and play as hard as I can every night to put our team in a position to win. We’re third in the East, we’re playing great basketball.”
“I told them, I don’t want to see that slip away so we’ve got to take chance and I think we have a great chance of surprising a lot of people and winning.”
Howard would not address the future beyond this year and said he understood there was some risk for the Magic, but hoped they’d roll the dice and keep him in Orlando.
“We’ve been talking for a while and I told them, I want to finish this season out and give our team and give our fans some hope for the future but I feel they have to roll that dice,” sad Howard. “It might be tough but I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity but they’ve got to roll it. “
“I’ve talked to Rich [DeVos], I’ve talked to Dan DeVos, I’ve talked to Alex [Martins] and Otis [Smith] and I want to finish this season out,” Howard said with certainty. “I think we’re going to hit our peak at the right time and we’re going to make a good run. “
When pressed about his future, Howard wouldn’t allow the discussion to get past this season.
“That doesn’t matter,” said Howard. “This moment is what matters. Like I said, we have a great opportunity.”
“These guys are on a team, they’re working hard every day to get better and we’ve got a good shot. We’ve got a good shot. Everybody’s trusting in our captains, me and Jameer, and like I said, we hit our peak at the right time and nobody’s going to be able to beat us.”
For weeks, the Magic’s posture on Howard was that they were not looking to trade their franchise big man, rather looking to add players around him.
In the last 24 hours, the Magic have been connected to deals with the Minnesota Timberwolves – involving Jason Richardson and Michael Beasley – and secondary deals that could move out Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson.
The Magic had been in talks to land Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors, however it seems he’ll end up in Milwaukee as part of consummated Andrew Bogut deal. Ellis could be re-traded by Milwaukee, but the initial word from the Bucks is they plan to keep Ellis and see how much of a push they can make towards the playoffs.
Howard’s declaration of wanting to finish the season surely changes the dynamic of the relationship.
The future still remains uncertain, but it does seem that Howard has pushed the ball back to Orlando, the question is will they hold the line with Howard and see what July brings?