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Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 11:20 am  |  34 responses

Hakeem Olajuwon Says Dwight Howard Wanted Out of Orlando in 2011 Due to Stan Van Gundy


The departures of Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic organization last year were predictable. They were also calamitous and wildly embarrassing for all parties involved. According to Hakeem Olajuwon, Dwight told him during their famous workouts in the summer of 2011 that he could no longer handle playing for SVG, and that he wanted to join the Los Angeles Lakers (a wish that was eventually granted, though it hasn’t exactly worked out for him there.) Per Fox Sports: “Hakeem Olajuwon is sticking with his belief that Dwight Howard will re-sign this summer with the Los Angeles Lakers. If Howard is thinking differently, Olajuwon figures Howard will let him know. Olajuwon, a Hall of Fame center, said Howard told him in the summer of 2011 that he wanted out of Orlando after eight seasons primarily due to how he was being used by then-Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, and that he wanted to end up with the Lakers. [...] Howard has been noncommittal when talking to the media. But until he hears otherwise, Olajuwon believes Howard will re-sign with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent this summer. ‘I think so,’ Olajuwon said. ‘I think so. Because that is where he wanted to be. He wanted to go there … He loves L.A.,’ Olajuwon said of what Howard told him in 2011 and what he has no reason to no longer believe. ‘He feels like it’s a great chance for him to win a championship, and he wants to be another great center for the Lakers of the future. He thought it was the best fit for him personally. He came to us (in 2011 with one of his representatives to Olajuwon’s ranch outside Houston) and they already thought that should be the destination.’ [...] Asked what team had been tops on Howard’s list and whether it was the (Brooklyn) Nets, Van Gundy said, ‘I’m not going to get into that.’ Van Gundy, though, didn’t dispute Olajuwon saying Howard’s primary reason for wanting out of Orlando was frustration with his role under Van Gundy. ‘In Orlando, he more or less was fed up with the coach,’ Olajuwon said of what Howard told him in 2011. ‘It was more of an issue where he didn’t feel like (Van Gundy) was using him in the right way. … Remember, if you have an inside player, you got to go to him. Any coach that has a post player that commands a double- or triple-team must maximize that position because that position will give you other options. Just going to him, you create opportunities outside and outside. He was more clashing with the coach for not using him correctly. … There were frustrations. Any player would be frustrated when he feels that he can offer more than what he feels like the coach is making him do, and he can run up and down the court four or five times before you touch the ball.’”

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  • Max

    There has never been so much ‘news’ about a lottery team as with the Lakers this year.

  • shockexchange

    D12 is not happy in L.A., Van Gundy’s not in Orlando so the stage is set for him to return to the Magic http://www.clicky.me/rentacenter … “There’s no place like home.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    That Orlando team was built around Dwight – he’s delusional if he thinks he wasn’t being used properly…Stan is the best coach he’s ever played for.

    Its hard to keep pounding the ball into someone who has little, if any, offensive moves in their repertoire.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    uhm, management in Orlando was a flaming dumpster fire falling into a volcano. trying to build the team around a player, and actually doing it are different things.

  • RayJr

    Hate too.

  • Happy

    And now he wants out of LA because of Kobe Bryant.

  • davidR

    do you think stan did the best job he could with the players he had, keeping in consideration what he was given by management, or did stan do a terrible job? just curious

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    I think SVG did a remarkable job with what he was given

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    This isn’t news. Van Gundy himself said this long ago.

  • LeroyShonuff

    So he wanted to leave the one coach who understood his strengths and weaknesses and built a team around that? Dwight stay losing

  • Comment_System

    dude got to the finals, I know the east was weak that year but its not like it was THAT easy that anybody couldve done it.

  • davidR

    agreed. personally, i don’t think it’s fair for dwight to feel he was used improperly. i feel orl had to surround him with all those shooters to help open the key for him and stretch the defense out so he would have a better chance at working in the post.

    i’m not sure what dwight wants tho. sounds like he wants to be the man on offense, but we all know he can’t ever be that guy

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    he is too nice of a guy honestly. Dwight needs to learn how to punish people on a basketball court. There is no reason he can’t be a guy shooting 15-18 shots a game at around 60% other than the system he plays in, and more importantly his complete lack of aggression.

  • JL

    Good choice DH, you feel like you don’t get enough touches so you go to the Lakers where Gasol didn’t feel like he got enough touches. He forgets that he was traded for Bynum, not Kobe!

  • Caboose

    The year they made the Finals was the peak of Orlando’s management. We all knew that team was held together with duct tape, but you can’t fault that it was a TEAM effort that got them there. Honestly, Jameer, Courtney, Hedo, and Shard will probably go down as the team best suited to Dwight in his whole career. He’ll never have it better than 4 shooters, 2 ball handlers, and a coach who ensures he touched the ball damm near every possession.

  • Ugh

    Yeah, he’ll totally return to Orlando. He has every reason to: he left the fans with a great taste in their mouth, the management and ownership really respect him, the general NBA public and media will love him returning there after what happened to the franchise when he left. You’re totally right.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    i wonder if he’s happy with the way dantoni uses him

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    you really thin they’ll miss the playoffs?

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    he choked in the finals

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    that team loaded on bad contracts

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    that team loaded on bad contracts/players

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    dwight seems insecure

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    Kobe breaks spirits… i actually think Pau is mentally stronger then dwight… its only been a few months and it seems like dwights near to shedding tears

  • Max

    I do, Especially with Pau out and Dwight only being 50%.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    i would be shocked if they dont squeak in the playoffs

  • Max

    We’ll see.

  • Happy

    That might be true.

  • davidR

    don’t forget skip. he was their starting pg throughout the playoffs until jameer came back in the finals

  • shockexchange

    Sometimes in dating, you have to give the other person “the gift of missing you.” The Shock Exchange has a feeling that Orlando is looking really good to D12 right now. If he gets on his hands and knees and beg, all will be forgiven.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    lol its very true.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    catch 22 situation lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    If Dwight can stay healthy I’m pretty sure he’ll win a title in LA sooner or later man.

  • Caboose

    How? This LA team should be at its peak right now. Kobe, Steve, Pau, Antawn, Metta, etc are all on the decline. Dwight hasn’t improved in probably 3 years now. The Lakers are static at best, declining at worst.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    They are the Lakers. I am never counting them out lol

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