Howard replaces LeBron as NBA villain
This week Dwight Howard added another chapter to the unfathomable lunacy that is the ‘Dwightmare’.
Just weeks prior, former bad boy LeBron James came through in the finals and lead Miami Heat to what was his breakthrough first championship.
The combination of these events will almost certainly result in Howard replacing LeBron as the NBA’s super villain heading into next season.
The Dwight Howard saga started last off season when Howard, entering the final year of his contract, confirmed that he had asked to be traded to the Nets. Not long after, Howard changed his mind, saying he’d like to stay in Orlando if they can sufficiently improve the team.
Talk then resurfaced that Howard wanted out. He continued to change his mind, unable to make a definite decision. Orlando decided to keep him on the roster for the time being.
On March 15 this year, the day of the NBA trade deadline, Howard waived his right to opt out of his contract at the end of the season, committing to the Magic for the 2012/13 season.
In April, then Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed to a group of reporters that Howard has asked for him to be fired. Van Gundy had grown tired of the Howard circus and decided to just tell the truth, rather than cover up for the man who wanted him gone and was trying to control the organisation.
This week, Howard once again demanded a trade to the Nets. Reports were also released which suggested that Howard had accused the Magic of blackmailing him into signing on for an extra year. Howard denied the reports of blackmail but confirmed his wish to be traded to the Nets.
Howard had the chance to control his future. If he didn’t waive his opt out clause in March, he would be a free agent now.
It’s just outrageous to demand trades on and off – completing a trade is hard enough without the person constantly changing their mind. For him to finally sign on for one more year (and claim it was about loyalty no less) and demand a trade again when you had the ability to be a free agent right now anyway.
Howard signing on for an extra year wasn’t good at all for Orlando, there’s never been any chance he stays there long term. All it was ever going to result in the whole ordeal dragging on ever longer. Howard will undoubtedly be traded as Orlando is now desperate to move on.
It’s hard to think of someone who has stuffed their team around more (for want of a better term) than Howard has. LeBron received an extreme amount of hate for ‘The Decision’, but that was one poorly handled event.
Dwight has already made life hell for the Magic for a year and counting. One day James ripped Cleveland’s heart out; Howard is teasing and torturing the body first, before inevitably moving on to the heart.
Most Orlando fans not surprisingly turned on Howard long ago, initially desperate for him to stay, now desperate for him to leave.
When Howard and the city of Orlando finally split, I expect it to be one of the ugliest breakups we’ve seen in sport. When Howard returns to the Amway Center with his new team, I’ll be expecting one of the most hostile receptions we’ve seen, possibly reminiscent of when LeBron returned to Cleveland.
It really is such a sad series of events. Before this freak show began last off season, Howard one was on the most popular players in the league. His playfulness, fun loving attitude, hilarious antics and megawatt smile made sure of that. Now it all counts for nothing.
Forget LeBron, Dwight Howard is the new super villain of the NBA.