Orlando Opens New Arena, May Lose Howard, Though

by October 11, 2010

The Orlando Sentinel is talking Amway Center, and Dwight Howards Extension: “There was a buzz in the air before the opening tip, when Magic coach Stan Van Gundy walked out in a new fitted suit and tie, saying goodbye to the mock turtlenecks. It was his homage to the new place and the people who made it happen. ‘If it takes a new arena to get Stan to wear a suit, we might get one every year,’ Howard joked afterward. This one will do just fine, thank you. The question is this: Will anyone outside Central Florida notice? Nobody cares about the Magic this season. They are the warm-up act, the acoustic guitar guy opening for the Eagles… The Heat are the greatest team in the history of planet Earth. The Boston Celtics are a formidable adversary. They will meet in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. So it has been ordained by the talking heads on ESPN and other media outlets genuflecting at the presence of King James and his noble court. You’d think the Magic would have no worries coming in way under the Heat Index, but that’s not necessarily so. The demands to win within the organization will be greater than ever. And it’s not because they are playing in a fabulous new building that makes Amway Arena look like a subsidized housing dump. The contract extension that the Magic recently offered Dwight Howard looms in the air, clouding the future. Howard remains non-committal. ‘I can’t answer that,’ Howard told the Sentinel when asked whether he would sign the extension. ‘I mean, I love Orlando. I don’t want to leave.’ Um. Sounds a bit like the line we heard a few years back, when Shaquille O’Neal said, ‘Orlando is my No. 1 option.'”