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Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  62 responses

Dwight Howard Looking to ‘Start Own Path’ in Orlando


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

There’s a general assumption out there that Dwight Howard’s Orlando days are numbered, that he will inevitably flee for greener, bigger pastures once he becomes a free agent next summer (or perhaps even sooner, should the Magic’s front-office feel they have no chance at re-signing him to a longterm deal.)

It’s not just a media or fan-created assumption either; Dwight Howard himself has occasionally helped feed into it.

According to the big fella, though, he’s not thinking about leaving Orlando. In fact, he’s looking to build something special with the Magic, but he needs them to step up, too.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

“I’m not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else,” Howard said, referencing Shaquille O’Neal’s decision to leave the Magic following the 1995-96 season and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. “I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else’s path. I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando. But I can’t do it alone. Not only do I need the right teammates, but I need the city behind me. That’s the only way it’s going to get done. We can change this small city that we have — this small market that we have — and we can make it a big market.

“As of right now, I’m a part of the Orlando Magic and I plan to be here,” Howard said. “And I want the Magic to do whatever they can to make sure that we can get our city behind us. That’s the only thing that I want to happen: just to have the city behind me and the support of our fans. I never said I was leaving. I never, ever thought about leaving. That’s basically where my head is right now. I never said anything to them [the Magic] about what my plans were because that’s not what I’m focused on right now.”

Heading into next season, no front-office is under greater pressure than Magic GM Otis Smith and his staff. Their franchise player has issued them a challenge to get him better teammates and greater fan and city-wide support.

Though Dwight Howard and his reps say they want to stay in Orlando for the long haul, it wouldn’t be wise to assume that the rumors about him leaving will now subside.

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  • bluntz

    the end is near

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Get this guy CP3 and a really good wing and the Magic are going to be hell to deal with.

  • orl.chris

    Big ups to dwight for doin what he can to stop the rumors. Really all the rumors ever were was just pipe dreams from all the jealous teams / fans around the league. As soon as Otis builds a squad around him that can play good D, the ‘ship is Orlando’s. Luv ya D12

  • orl.chris

    ^ CP3 is a great place to start…

  • EmCee

    It would take houdini to come back from the grave and work his sh*t to get the teammates Howard would need to contend now with the dirty contracts this team has . Otis best shot at keeping him is hiring chris angel as an ass. Coach and maybe he can MINFREAK Howard into staying. Magic!

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Get ready for a year of Dwight drama.

  • shuref00t

    So building an entirely new, state-of-the-art arena wasn’t enough for you, Dwight?!

  • MLK4Life

    Get CP3 or Deron Williams if he leaves New Jersey. Dump Turkoglu and Nelson. Find a good small forward. Then this team will be right there with the Bulls and Heat for the foreseeable future.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    No no no, CP3 is coming to NY; so I can become a Knick fan.

  • Jer dawg

    Start his own path OUTTA Orlando is more like it. No signed contract means endless speculations.

  • Harlem_World

    If only Gil’s knee wasn’t shot…

  • marc

    These rumors are not going to stop unless he says i want to retire under the magics lol

  • T-Money

    i believe him… if he gets cp3 or deron to come down to orlando. if not, he’s out. even if the media is telling us otherwise, it’s all about winning for most players. kobe was ready to ditch the palm trees for cold chitown winters when he had to play with smush. and i firmly believe that bron would have re-signed with cleveland if they had swung the amar’e deal at the deadline.

  • Ev

    Dwight is a good dude; he deserves even more success IMO

  • rich

    i really hope they can get a team around dwight soon it doesnt have to be cp or deron just someone with some pg skills and someone with some slashing ability, when dwight kicks it out from the double team they dont always need a 3point shooter, they can have a guy slashing on the weakside while the d is off balanced. some better defenders would be nice cuz j rich is statisticly the worst defender at 2 guard

  • angus

    get cps and rudy gay and your troubles are over

  • angus

    cp3*

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    Get more real shooters, not out-of-their-prime slashers relegated to standing on the perimeter. And a pg – Jameer Nelson is barely Raymond Felton, which isn’t something to complain about as much as it isn’t something to cheer about. Sounds like everyone here knows what they need except for them…

  • Oh Nose

    I feel like LeBron and Melo said the same thing…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    Rudy Gay, CP3 and Deandre Jordan and it’s a wrap, however, we’re not playing 2K..

  • AD

    man u supposed to come to brooklyn……

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Please come to LA.

  • Demigod

    Don’t go to L.A. They already have a big guy with no offensive skills & look what theyve done this season. Respect to D12 for sayin this.

  • ODDIE

    bring him cp3 for jameer nelson and keep j rich, then theyll be one step away from a championship:

    getting rid of gilbert arenas

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Like I said, I won’t hold my breath, but I am now officially on the “bring Dwight to Chicago” bandwagon.
    Sorry, Joakim.

  • Dan

    The Bulls need to get rid of Boozer and his terrible D. The combo of Dwight and Noah would be amazing.

  • Gemidod

    Go to L.A. They already had a big guy with no offensive skills & look what they were able to do the past two seasons. Disrespect to D12 for sayin this.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    magic probably wont give up dwight without getting noah.
    as much as i love the dude, dwight howard is kind of uh…diwght howard.
    so peace easy jo!
    oh and please, take boozer, the neighbors keep complaining about his barking

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    LOL @ airs.
    Noah + Boozer + either Asik or Gibson (hate to see either of the last two go but the Magic will probably demand one of the two) for Howard and either sh*tty contract A (Hedo) or sh*tty contract B (Gilbert Arenas)

  • Exile

    Dwight to Chi for whoever (minus Noah and Rose) and whatever it would take would be great. I would never do this if I was Otis… but hey… I wouldn’t have traded for Gil either! Good luck Otis!

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    hibachi revival!
    im tellin ya, i can see it now.

  • Eddie1

    Slam, today is Finals day. Quit postin ish about this guy on vacation. Or at least don’t make it your top story. Anybody have NBA 2K11 and want to play me on PS3? Holla atcha boy. Eddie, 2076.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    @Exile – Noah’s beloved in the Chi, but I don’t think he’s “untouchable” anymore. I think Rose is the only one who would never be dealt at this point.
    @airs – Hibachi don’t strike me as the Thibs type of guy. Then again, Boozer definitely isn’t either.

  • MikeC.

    The contract hell that the Magic are currently in are going to handcuff them for the foreseeable future. Their only desirable asset is Dwight. Picture this scenario:
    Otis Smith: Hey Dell Demps, this is Otis calling from Orlando.
    Dell Demps: Hey Otis, nice to hear from you. What can I do for you?
    Otis: Well, Dell, now that you mention it, I was wondering what it would take to get Chris Paul in a Magic uniform. Everyone on the roster can be had except for Dwight.
    Dell: Well…Otis…the thing is…your entire team is a pile of overpaid turds except for Dwight. We’d rather lose CP as a free agent than destroy our salary cap by taking Arenas’ contract back in a trade.
    Otis: But..but…but everyone is saying how Chris Paul is leaving the Hornets and wants to team with Dwight, no matter how unrealistic the scenario is under the current and likely future rules of the salary cap. I just assumed that since everyone on the Internet was saying it, I could just make it happen. Say, do you know if Isiah is working for anyone now? He’d totally take on Gil’s huge contract and bad knees.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    if we get dwight, that 2 spot probably won’t be as big a weakness as it once was. and if we had arenas to play the 2, i still believe its an upgrade from keith bogans.
    i dunno, i still have faith in hibachi, he came back that last(?) year and averaged 20 ppg before the whole gun incident

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Hibachi’s cooled the hell off, yo.
    I mean, 10 points per on 39% from the field last year. Only 29% from 3. Weak sauce.

  • bnets

    dwightbound.com

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    To Gilbert Arenas’ credit, its not like he ever got a chance at consistent minutes. Any time he screwed up he got yanked, fear of failure prevents confidence which prevents production. Which prevents the opportunity to play through mistakes. Its a hellacious circle.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    nbk getting his Yoda on.
    “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to turnovers and low shooting percentages….”

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    don’t be tryna ruin my secret about being a jedi….oh i’ve said to much

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    I love how Dwight says he’s probably gonna stay yet about 80% of the comments here are trade rumors. Don’t get your hopes up Chicago fans.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    If he screws up in Thibs’ system, he’ll get yanked just as quickly though.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lol i wasn’t saying he’d be better in Chicago, just that he didn’t really get a chance in Orlando. Either way I don’t think he’ll ever make the comeback that he could have as a starter/30 minute a night guy. I mean he is only 28, its not like he’s that old. Just about time to add him to the list, Penny/T-Mac/Franchise

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    word, nbk.
    im sayin, homie’s getting screwed over a little, he can still ball.
    I BELIEVE IN YOU HIBACHI

  • NJ4Life

    BROOKLYN

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    If Bulls got Howard and Hedo though, they could put Deng at the 2.
    If he can keep up with the quicker 2′s in the league, they’ve have a hard time with his size and defense.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They wouldn’t even start Turkoglu I don’t think. He’d be the primary 6th man, he’d be able to back up 3 positions essentially. He’d actually improve their offensive flexibility, and allow DRose to take off one possession a quarter (lol). I think if they could somehow manage to squeeze out DHo Turk is definitely the best big contract to take back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Dwight please come to the Lakers so us die-hard fans wont be so depressed by the signing of Mike Brown

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    I could imagine Orlando wanting Loul Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson AND Omer Asik for Howard, Turk, and some crappier players to make it work.
    Bulls would have Howard but their depth would take a hit…and they’d still have Boozer.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    what are the chances that no other GM’s saw how horrible boozer played?
    i mean, garpax missed it, maybe the others did too.

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

    Orlando will trade Gilbert Arenas back for Rashard Lewis.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    @ airs – I’m sure Kahn would take Boozer if we added CJ Watson, Jannero Pargo and John Lucas to the deal. lol

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    airs, I bet the Grizzlies didn’t see it but they don’t need a PF. Neither did Detroit, Joe D probably was still telling people about how he won a title by trading for Rasheed Wallace in 2004.

  • D.Stokes

    I wonder if M.J. complained this much or did he just make the players around him better…Wasn’t like he had VC or Jameer or anything like that…

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    haha, twolves and detroit don’t have anything bulls would want any way.
    and john lucas is an interal part of the bulls, untouchable. who will get the morning doughnuts?

  • bnets

    Nets

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Damn, airs, you’re right.
    Besides the morning doughnuts, without Lucas who would write the scary, menacing tweets to drive fear into the opponents’ hearts?
    I swear, for dude who played a total of ten minutes all season, he sure shot off at the mouth a lot on Twitter about how “We gon get it” and “We comin’ 4 U” and all that nonsense..

  • O

    I’m a hardcore Brooklynite. My borough is thorough. But i’d prefer Dwight in a Knicks uniform along side Melo (I’m sure if the Knicks made a trade, Stat would be the centerpiece), and CP3. Our bench would still be garbage though. And best believe that Orlando will BLEEEEEEED the Bulls in the same manner or worse than the Nuggets did to the Knicks.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    ^No doubt about that last part, O.

  • jflash

    Dwight and CP3 to the Knicks! Book it!

  • Adam

    As an NBA fan, I hope he stays. I would hate if last summer becomes the standard off season…

    Just hearing Dwight say this has won him a lot of respect, hopefully he stays true, and the Magic look after him.

    As everyone is saying, get a solid PG and creative slasher on the wing and they will have the foundation of a great team

  • zack

    jameer nelson can’t flow with DWIGHT…….he needs a feeder who can shoots the 3point to lure defenders out and pass the ball to DWIGHT for a one on one…….STEPHON CURRY????!!!!

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