They grow up so fast.
On June 24, 2004, the Orlando Magic selected Dwight Howard with the number 1 pick in the draft. In the previous season, Tracy McGrady lead the team to grand total of 21 wins. In his rookie season, the Magic saw a 15 game improvement. By his third season, he had made the All Star Team and lead the Magic to the playoffs. Two seasons after that, the Magic reached the NBA finals where they would fall to the Los Angeles Lakers. As of today, Dwight Howard is a 6 time All Star, 5 time All NBA First Team member, and a 3 time Defensive Player of the Year
No athlete has meant more to the city of Orlando since Shaquille O’Neal. Now it appears that the magic shall lose another superstar center just entering his prime. I may be in the minority of people who have some sort of sympathy for Dwight. Stan Van Gundy's offense is not too dissimilar to that of Vinny Del Negro's "(insert star name here) do everything" it was pretty much three step process.
1. Look for the lob to Dwight.
2. Look for Dwight in the post
3. If 1 and 2 fail, shoot a three.
So I hear you guys run plays. Tell me what it’s like.
On defense Dwight was pretty much the only stopper for majority of his time there. He was the entire offense outside of three point shooting, and the entire defense. Also, I’m sure Otis Smith’s presence made it harder for Dwight wear the blue and black. Some of his greatest hits include, wisely not over paying Hedo Turkoglu after the 2009 season, only to turn around and trade for him using the teams only other defensive player (Mickael Pietrus). Matching the $34 million dollar offer sheet on Marcin Gortat just so he could play back up to Dwight Howard. And acquiring Brandon Bass’ fatter, dumber, counterpart in a sign in trade that would cost $26 million.
All of this considered, I can understand why Dwight would request a trade. In fact, it’s probably better that he did request a trade because it would allow the Magic to try and get something of value, rather than him leaving the team high and dry. Yet it was his indecisive nature that has caused the biggest, most far reaching problems. In March of 2011, the Nets expressed interest in Dwight Howard. With rumors swirling about Dwight’s desire to leave the franchise, Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide made a drunken phone call to Dwight pleading for him to stay. (God, I wish I had access to that audio). When the lockout ended, Howard came forward with his trade request. Chaos ensues. Pretty much every team in the association looks at their roster and sees what they could offer to try and acquire the best center on the planet. For example, the Dallas Mavericks declined to resign Tyson Chandler so that they could have cap space to sign Dwight Howard straight up. (Ubershitty idea Mark, Ubershitty idea.) As the trade deadline approached, Dwight appeared to remain firm in his stance that he wanted to leave the organization. But something happened on the team plane on the way back from San Antonio that made Dwight Howard want to change his mind. Perhaps Otis had some nude pics ready to forward to TMZ? The team announced Howard would remain with the franchise for the 2012-2013 season. I guess some people are gluttons for punishment.
This past April, while meeting with the media, and sipping a diet Pepsi, Stan Van Gundy announced that that Dwight wanted him fired. Dwight later butted in Kanye style and claimed he had no idea what Stan was talking about.
Hey Stan. If you’re in danger, blink twice.
Eventually, Dwight's trade demand would be back on. This is the point where most of America lost track of how many times he flipped flopped. Also, this is the point where most of America began to hate his face. But why the sudden change of heart this time? It came out that Dwight was truly torn on what to do, and ended up listening too closely to those around him. Well, for one. What happened to being your own man? Sure, we have all consulted our friends and loved one when facing a tough decision. However, in the end we have to follow our hearts. Letting others influence your life is weak. I feel for the fans of Orlando. It’s like having that girl in your life who you are head over heels for, but she continues to play with your emotions. One moment she seems to be in love with you. The next she's off screwing some doucher she met at the bar and then lies to your face when you ask about it and calls you insecure and then you break up, but you can’t let go so you call her over and over again but she won’t answer the phone but you know she’s there because DAMMIT, I CAN SEE THE LIGHTS ARE ON IN YOUR HOUSE!!!.......sorry, I went to a dark place there. At some point, you've just got to pull yourself away. I think many of the Magic fans have done this by now.
Oh Dwight, you’re such a tease.
The season ended and so did Stan Van Gundy's position as head coach of the Orlando Magic. Soon after, Otis Smith was put out of his misery. The assistant GM Dave Twardzik and several scouts were cut loose as well. They even fired Adonal Foyle, director of player development. The Magic were cleaning house. Was this a last ditch effort to appease Dwight? Or perhaps the Magic were prepping for life post Howard and these were the first series of moves. The Lakers have reportedly dangled Andrew Bynum. The Nets have offered up a bunch of nobodies featuring Brook Lopez. The Rockets have…well I don’t know what the hell the Rockets are doing. One thing is clear. It has been a very long drawn out saga and we will all be happy to see it come to a close.