Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 11:00 am  |  59 responses

Gilbert Arenas’ Struggles Impacting Dwight Howard’s Future?

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Yesterday’s demoralizing loss by the Orlando Magic in Boston to the Celtics had the Magic wondering about what the near future holds for them. For the national media, their biggest concern is also the future of the franchise, but more long-term.

Stan Van Gundy admitted that his squad is nowhere near the Celtics’ level, and Dwight Howard said the team needs to become mentally tougher (and get him the ball more frequently) if they hope to compete for a title.

The new roster has yet to gel, and the biggest acquisition (Gilbert Arenas) has failed to make an impact. Arenas even went as far as to claim that his arthritic knees stiffen up when he plays in cold-weather cities.

These are very serious concerns for Orlando with the Playoffs looming, to say nothing of Dwight Howard’s impending free agency in the summer of 2012.

CBS Sports and Yahoo! report:

“Not yet,” Arenas said after the first scoreless game he could remember since he picked up a basketball, referring to the pressure to get Howard a championship before he follows LeBron James’ lead. “But we know and I know they brought us here for a reason.” We all know that reason was not to finish fifth or sixth in the East and get knocked out in the first round.

Howard has his eyes on Los Angeles and New York, sources close to him have insisted for months, and nothing short of championship basketball may be enough to compel him to re-sign with the Magic.

[Otis] Smith has been planning for the next year and a half for the past seven years. “He’s been a free agent since he’s been here,” Smith said. “Meaning I’m not going to wait until he’s a free agent to become worried about free agency. Who are we kidding? When you have one of the top five players in this league, you’re always trying to retain him, I don’t care who you are. So there’s nothing I would do differently. Nothing. Zero. I’ve pretty much done it for seven years, since he was a rookie.”

There’s no telling if Gil will ever regain his once-dominant form — I certainly wouldn’t wager on it happening again — meaning the pressure on Orlando’s front office will only increase over the next two years.

Dwight Howard desperately wants to win an NBA title. Where this quest will continue to take place is up in the air.

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  • T-Money

    I’ve watched yesterday’s game and, seriously, people need to show up to the arena with FREE DWIGHT signs. The gripes about his lack of post moves are grossly exaggerated, he gave Perks the bidness on a few moves. SVG needs to channel his own Rudy T and start every single trip down the court with an entry pass in the post to Dwight. Every. Single. Time.

  • Bojangles

    I hope Arenas can get it together. If he can this Magic team can be really good, if they can get another big.

  • marc

    It seems like no one can say he has no post moves anymore. His post game has got wayyyy better.

  • kc

    co-sign t money. Treat dwight like shaq in his prime and get this kid the rock early and often. Even though his game is still growing, with his size and athleticism he should be leading the league in scoring or close to it. He should should at least be leading the in shot attempts if nothing else. The magics last trade was just a bad one hands down. Jason richardson was a nice addition but overall this team is worse off. Gilbert Arenas…….. really?? Come on Otis smith, your better than that!

  • marc

    It would be sad if he left orlando to join the lakers and win 3 chips in a row with kobe. One can only dream.

  • Riggs

    did the magic think that trade would magically get them over the hump that is the celtics? HA, if a gameplan isnt winning anything then dont just change the players executing it, change the gameplan itself. They were 3 for 21 in threes, of course they were going to lose.

  • Zeiram

    If the magic had done just the trade with phoenix and left R-lew untouched this would have been a way better move or Orlando.

  • http://posterboyforflyness15@gmail.com posterboy15

    Crazy how Vince is havin really good offensive outputs on the suns…and the people he was traded for really havent made orlando better..FAIL…Orlando need to change their system fast..I dont think this is Van Gundy’s doing either, cuz he didnt coach the Heat like this, when they had star talent in shaq and wade…

  • http://www.slamonline.com slick ric

    @zeiram, I agree. Rashard might have been more important to that team than some realize.

  • http://zenguu Max

    If Dwight would go to OKC, that would be nice
    Thunder – Heat in Finals from 2012 on.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    The Celtics’ game plan yesterday worked like magic (how punny): deny the three-ball. Boston didn’t double Howard, let him do his thing (he scored 28 points), let them get the ball to him, but they didn’t double him. They stuck on the three-point shooters all the way out to the wing and Orlando shot 30% from downtown. The Magic live and die by the 3, a strategy which has proven to be massively inconsistent, but just trustworthy enough for the Magic to still be considered a semi-elite team. If Howard could post up and score every time, this strategy wouldn’t work as well. If Orlando had a slashing point-forward who didn’t make a living beyond the arc (Gerald Wallace, for example, or what VC could’ve been for them) this would also open up their offense. But last night the Celtics proved that Orlando can’t win if the three isn’t an option. Their weakness has been identified, it’s pretty much on Howard to be able to score at will down there, while being a better passer from the post to those three-men on the wings and in the corners.

  • T-Money

    Moose: guys just have to do their jobs. Reddick, Anderson, Jameer, Gil, J-Rich, Turk… their jobs is to knock down shots. Orlando doesn’t have many slashers. Dwight’s job is to go hard in the paint and the guys on the perimeter have to knock down their looks. They’ve been failing Dwight in big games this year.

  • Josh Drake

    He shouldnt want to go to free agency, i mean CP3 and Melo i can understand, but Dwight Howard he’s on a championship contender, although it isnt as good as other teams right now the celtics will eventually fade away and the Magic will have plenty of shots at the finals and the championship

  • D.Stokes

    My man get over yourself!!! You have made NO ONE AROUND YOU BETTER ON A CHAMPIONSHIP TYPE TEAM!!! Why don’t you just run to L.A. and let Kob do it for you cause you wont want to be Bosh behind Stat and Melo next year. SMH…Mommy Daddy Otis got me a big house and a Porche and I still cant get laid!!!

  • robb

    @posterboy15 well yeah, but he’s been doing that for years. His problem is delivering at crunch time. The other day he shot great the first 3 quarters and during the 4th he shot 1-7. That’s Vince, he can compete but he can’t win.


    ya but celtics fade away n heat take the reign. where does leave dwight. he better take his massive muscles to L.A. or the Knicks to have a chance at a title.

  • First & Foremost

    If they are thinking long term, why is trying to beat Boston any concern? Yeah Boston is beating teams this year, but look how many injuries they? I highly doubt they would be able to repeat this same feat next year. Their only long-term comp is Miami & Chicago. Orlando is only 1 BACKUP big and a perimeter defender away.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    Gilbert should be starting, man. Why is jammer still a starting PG?

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    i hate looking bad. Jammer, not Jammer nor Jimmer

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I wonder why people think superstars should win championships without help. Or that they shouldn’t demand great teammates.
    Of all the all-time greats, very few have won a single or multiple titles without some serious help on the floor and on the sidelines.
    Hakeem may have had two of the weakest title teams in League history, but he wasn’t all alone. And it probably would have been better if he didn’t have to waste so much of his prime dealing with subpar talent.
    News flash people. Michael Jordan won six rings with arguably the second best wing player of his generation. Easily. Scottie Pippen wasn’t just some guy, Scottie was a Top 50 player and Michael Jordan didn’t make him one. Jordan guided Pippen and helped him, but Pippen made himself great.
    Why would we expect these superstars to stubbornly refuse to surround themselves with talent? That would be asinine.

  • MusketeerX

    Boston is more than a backup big and perimeter defender away. They need players that can score with mid range J’s and slashers as others have already mentioned.

  • http://eastofeden55@hotmail.com Waggle

    @JoeyE, totally agree. Jameer’s minutes need to be given to Gil. If Gil had the ball in his hands he could create something, but he’s hardly on the court, and when he is, he doesn’t touch the ball. Last week against the Heat he was WIDE open on several possessions in cruch time and was ignored.
    Give him the ball and some damn minutes already.

  • max

    T-Money: I totally agree with you.As Sebastian Pruiti of NBA PLaybook points out,D-12 had 11 Postup opportunities,scoring on 6 for 12 points in the first half.In the second half,he got only 5 of these post touches.I mean,I dont say hes Hakeem and his free throw inabilities make it hard for him to be effective in crunch time,but he improved dramatically.At some point you have to doubt van Gundys coaching.Talking bout Howard as an MVP but letting the perimeter guys shoot Orlando out of the game?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The Magic settle way too much for the 3-ball. ANY team with a dominant center should play through him. It’s common sense. Call it the “Law of the Dominant Center.”

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    dammit, even in my edit i spelled it bad. JAMEER lmao. Waggle, im glad you see it my way. he’s not a bench player yet. he needs the rock. but the problem is hedo. hedo needs the ball as gil does. what a mess right now for them



  • johnny c

    cosign Joey E. I would take Gil anyday over Jameer. the role they have Gil playing is one that severely limits his talents.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    Tim Duncan has won titles by himself…

  • blackjune

    @allenp you miss the point with that remark. Pippen came as a rookie, in a dice roll which nba draft basically is, and he wasnt that stellar when he came. The name of the game today is bring me more superstars so i can take a shortcut to winning a title. Or in Lebrons:” ill go join another superstar to win”, not that he didnt have the right to choose where to go

  • http://Gmail Dirty Frank

    No he hasn’t^^

  • ClydeSays

    Don’t know what the answer is, but Otis had better figure this out soon. Otherwise he’ll face another “Decision” type disaster.

  • http://google J-Ro

    Would it really be possible for him to sign with L.A.?? arent they like waaayyy over the salary cap?

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    David Robinson, Manu Ginobilli, Tony Parker, Stephen Jackson……. TD wasn’t even finals MVP one of those years. Come on Phil.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I mean, 1 of those 4 years he wasn’t Finals MVP.

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    I know, but the players you mentioned, they were not the same players as they are today. They are stars now. They weren’t back then.

  • flipnoyce

    Dwight Howard is the biggest whiner in the league. For a man with his physique he sure complain way too much. Whenever he is guarded by someone who doesn’t back down from him he gets frustrated. He’s main problem is he wants to be ShaQ real bad. He doesn’t dominate the game like Shaq did on his prime. He needs to learn a few more tricks up his sleeve before he can go to the next level. We all know about Arenas a few years ago pre injury, but since then he’s been a washed. Washington should have never given him that max contract. Orlando will never win a title if they keep letting their franchise players to leave. But if DWIGTH were to leave Orlando try considering the THUNDER. They have the perfect pieces and style of play to surround him.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign Waggle, although Jameer IS a nice player. Having Turkoglu run that stupid point-forward spot really hinders both Jameer’s and Arenas’ output.

  • coggie13

    he won’t be very helpful to a team if he doesn’t learn how to play under the ring properly.
    a few post moves wont cut it.

  • tinchek

    they got way worse since they traded courtney lee

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    The Magic simply need to watch some Better Basketball shooting videos. For those of you who didn’t watch the game, you’ll see the Magic’s horrendous 3 point % and say “Whoah, why did they shoot that many? That’s stupid.” The reality is 75% of those shots were open jumpers that shooters (Richardson, Turk, Nelson, Anderson, Redick, Arenas) are expected to make. It’s painful seeing good execution to an open three (there were lots) and have it clang off the rim.

  • robb

    Howard will be Laker…or a Clipper? Can you imagine Blake and Dwight together? Sounds scary as s…

  • MikeC.

    From the sounds of things, the Magic need a 4 that can hit the 3 and a backup big man. I wonder if Rashard Lewis and Marcin Gortat are available.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Mike c. Too bad Rashard couldn’t hit anything with the Magic…Anderson fulfills the same role (playing just as well) for about 1/10th of Rashard’s contract.

  • MikeC.


  • Stylez G.Write

    Co-sign Caboose,them dudes went cold like a good girl turned bad…..and when a good girl’s gone,she’s gone forever….Hov!

  • BostonBaller

    Howard will do what is best for him when it’s time.
    posterboy15, everyone’s number go up in PHX. lol
    First & Foremost, you may be closer to right than those of the past. At the end of every recent year ppl say that Boston is dead and too old then during the year it shifts to NEXT year they will be too old. Keep saying it and eventually it will be true.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    gil cant get on the court. that can help production, you know, minutes. that said. nobody besides dwight is a good defender. they jack way too many 3s. and just arent a title contender. DWIGHT WILL SIGN WITH THE SPURS NEXT SUMMER. DARKNESS WILL REIGN, POP WILL PASS PHIL, ALL OPPOSITION WILL SUFFER GREATLY. MANY TROPHIES WILL RIDE THE BOAT DOWN THE RIVERWALK!!!!!

  • Ajamu

    You guys sound so young and naive when it comes to basketball, and bball history when it comes to great players changing teams to chase a ring. Do the names Chamberlain to Lakers(West and Baylor}, Robertson to Bucks(Jabbar)or Monroe (Clyde&Knicks) ring a bell. It’s almost NBA tradition. That’s why Barkley ain’t nothin but ahter when it comes to LeBron’s move. He was in his prime when he went to Phoenix. Actually if not for Mike, He, Malone and Ewing would have rings. But that’s the NBA, Wilt-1, Russell-11.. SHUT UP!!!

  • O

    Man, teams like The Spurs, The Nets and Heat have theeeee lamest home courts. There’s no excitement even when people are screaming at the top of their lungs. It’s like the whole atmosphere of the building is weak. Even when the Net’s made it to the Finals, it was still weak as f*ck and boring at the arena. The buildings of MSG, Boston and OKC stay rocking. Love those atmospheres. That said, why the hell would Dwight sign with the Spurs? I’d love to see him with the Knicks, but i’m pretty sure he’s going to LA. Whether it be the Clippers or Lakers.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    There is nothing wrong with signing with superstars. Should players instead hope that young talent develops or hope their GMs make good deals? Why? Why is that better than choosing your own established teammates? Give a real reason why it is bad.

  • http://slamonline.com The Ambassador

    Howard to L.A. Then L.A waits and gets Deron Williams then they get Blake Griffen but I can only dream!!!

  • MikeC.

    @Allenp – this is just my take, but I think it’s a generational shift and a changing of the game. A couple decades ago, players weren’t exposed to each other the way they are now. There didn’t hang out and socialize. They didn’t have the Olympic experience where they got together and socialized. They also didn’t have the 24hr sports/radio/Internet pressure to win and win NOW or be labeled as forever-failures. They looked around their conference and said “I want to beat his team so I can say I’m better than him.” Then they looked to the other conference and said “I sure hope his team makes the Finals so I can beat him too.” They just didn’t know each other on a personal level. Now they want to win, but they’d rather win while playing with their superstar buddies. I could go on a long-winded blah-blah about the decay of the North American work ethic but that’s a rant for another day.

  • http://slamonline.com The Ambassador

    It will be the day when a player of Kobe or Lebron calliaber says”I Want to take my Talents to Memphis!”

  • http://philosopher.vision@gmail.com The Philosopher

    Players do relate to each other more prominantly than in the past. More players come from the same cities.
    And, the AAUs play a major role in player relations from a young age.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    o, pop. and defense, lots of defense. and many rings.

  • hambone

    forget his post moves,maybe he could get john stockton to help him make a free throw.Or at least get jj to give him a set of thos knuckle duster things..Seriously though the amount of times howard comes off the pick and goes right down the lane with his hands up and doesnt get the ball is scandalous..it doesnt need to be a highlight lob every time

  • http://www.slamonline.com peter

    What’s with all these players thinking its their god given right to win a championship. That’s the point of competing, to try and win. Some fail. It seems like these guys are pushing the panic button way too early.

  • Tyquan

    If he is gonna leave after his free agency with Orlando thats on him I dont think Gil should take the fall for this one D12 wants to be like Shaq?
    Well he has his chance when is free to roam maybe he should play for the Lakers or Clippers who knows but dont blame Gilbert Arenas thats stupid

  • http://www.yahoo.com Kadarius Green

    Dwight aint goin nowhere,so he just need to sign another contract and get ready 4 the playoffs