Note: This post was also on Magic Basketball while HoopSpeak was in ICU yesterday.
I get it, I really do.
Dwight Howard doesn’t want to be the next LeBron James and that’s totally admirable. He sees how everything went down with LeBron getting his jersey burned, getting booed in every city, and having unreasonable (and yet probably warranted) criticism and scrutiny strapped to his every missed shot and pass in crunch time.
It makes sense to not want to do that, especially when you see where requesting a trade has gotten Carmelo Anthony. He has essentially run a coach out of the biggest city in the NBA and the new team has been a complete catastrophe since he arrived. Dwight doesn’t want the same fate as Carmelo. If anything, he’d love the Chris Paul scenario of revitalizing a big market and getting all the joy and love of doing so.
And there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with wanting to work in a new city and around new people. Yes, he has a good setup in Orlando and he gets to be the face of a franchise there. He gets to try to do what Shaquille O’Neal never would do, which is stay for the long haul and bring a title to the DeVos family. He also could go become the face of Brooklyn and help corner the biggest market in the NBA.
That would be a fun new chapter in Dwight’s career. That would be a fun new chapter in ANYONE’S career. Yes, loyalty to the franchise that drafted you is one thing but there is nothing that states he shouldn’t want to work in a new city if that’s what he wants to do.
The problem so far has been the way he’s gone about this. He’s thrown his own teammates under the bus directly and indirectly by saying he wanted out so he could pursue a title, and by saying he wanted management to bring new guys to be good enough to pursue a title. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. If Jameer Nelson is going to be offended by those comments, maybe he should play better so Dwight has no grounds to say such things.
While I understand the internal struggle Dwight must be going through on a daily basis of trying to decide whether or not he should leave Orlando, publicly put his hands in the faces of Orlando fans and saying, “I’m not touching you” is the real issue of this whole ordeal. He can’t make up his mind, apparently, and that’s understandable. But to do so publicly and allow this to become such a circus is really why people are getting so frustrated.
It’s like M. Night Shyamalan is directing his free agency situation and adding every terrible twist he can imagine. Ask for a trade! No, don’t ask for a trade! Say you want to stay! Say you want to stay the rest of the season! Say you won’t opt out. No, don’t say you will waive your opt-out clause! Okay, you should totally waive your opt-out clause. Or don’t waive it and sign a new contract with Orlando this summer.
WAIT! YOU IDIOT! Don’t opt out and then sign a two-year extension! What if we tell people you’re an alien? Okay, waive the opt-out clause for realsies this time but tell Jameer Nelson he sucks before you do it. OH MY GOD! Jameer Nelson could be the dead guy who thinks it’s still 1762! Wouldn’t it be funny if we got Orlando to trade you after waiving the opt-out clause?
Okay, for realsies, Dwight. Just retire.
At some point, Dwight has to stick with a decision and just leave the circus alone, even if he likes the attention. If he doesn’t like the attention, it’s time to end the speculation and be upfront with everybody. It’s not going to hurt the interest in you when you do become available for other teams.
We just can’t keep going through plot twist after plot twist because these movies tend to suck when it’s forced. Now we get to see this same thing happen a year from now. It’s up to you how many times the script changes.