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.'”