After playing eight seasons for the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard has been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. The trade had been rumored since yesterday became a reality on Friday. The trade involved The Lakers, Magic, Nuggets and 76ers. The Lakers ended up with Howard and sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers who also recieved Jason Richardson from the Magic. The Nuggest landed Andre Iguodala from the 76ers while the Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, three 1st round picks and a second round pick for 2013. It was the mega trade we had been expecting almost the entire summer.
Dwight Howard is leaving Orlando as a villain. He skipped out on a charity event recently in Orlando, that wasn’t going to win him any fans. Howard has been playing hardball with the team since the season ended. Yet the team still tried anything they could to make him happy enough to stay. The Magic fired coach Stan Van Gundy in May and the previous GM to appease Howard. Howard did not care he still wanted to leave as a free agent. The Magic had been that road before with Shaq in 1996 and were not about to let that happen this time around.
When trade rumors started Howard demanded going to the Brooklyn Nets and nowhere else. Howard put the team in a rough situation by lowering his trade value. He stated that he would not resign with any team other than the Nets or Mavericks when his contract is up after this season. A lot of interested teams quickly ran away not wanting to lose a lot for a one year stand with Dwight. Luckily for the Magic they were able to put together a deal that they can build a team for the future with. The team is ready to get on with life and with Dwight Howard out of the picture will be able to.
Dwight Howards legacy with the Magic will be a tarnished one. A story of feuding with his coach, stirring up trouble for the team and alienating himself from the fans of Orlando. The City of Orlando had been waiting for a star when they drafted Dwight in 2004. The team wanted to win a championship with Howard and the closest they came was the 2009 NBA Finals. The Lakers squashed the Magic in that year and the team never returned to the championship game since. The Magic should have realized earlier that Howard was not the man that could take them to a title.
Howard is now officially the most hated man in the NBA and it will not change anytime soon. He cares not about the team but himself. Howard has made his bed and no he has to sleep in it. Good riddance Dwight Howard.
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Tagged 2004 draft, 2009, 2013, 4 team trade, 76ers, Al Harrington, Andre Iguodala, andrew bynum, Arron Afflalo, championship, charity event, city, coach, contract, deal, Denver, draft picks, drama, Dwight Howard, gm, good riddance, lakers, land, los angeles, magic, mega trade, Moe Harkless, most hated player, nba finals, nba title, Nikola Vucevic, nuggets, orlando magic, stan van gundy, star, trade, tv, villain, where did he go
Ex Orland Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Stan Van Gundy era came to an end in Orlando on Monday when the Orlando Magic fired their coach. The firing has to be both a blessing and a curse for Van Gundy. He doesn’t have a job but at the same time he no longer has to deal with Dwight Howard drama. Van Gundy and the Magic’s star center Dwight Howard have been feuding all year both behind the scenes and in front of the media. Their were rumors that Howard was calling for Van Gundy’s firing by the middle of this past season. Even though Magic front office staff had confirmed those rumors, Howard has repeatedly denied such allegations. Well Monday it came to pass and Van Gundy was gone, whether it was due to the pressure Howard put on the Magic is hard to say.
Stan Van Gundy came to the Magic in 2007. He was essentially a back up plan when the Florida Gators head coach signed with the Orlando Magic and then 5 days later quit and went back to the Gators. There have been a lot of ups and downs for the team during Van Gundy’s tenure. Van Gundy leaves the Magic with a 259-135 record and a 31-28 record in the playoffs. He was with the team for a total of 5 seasons. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009, only to fall victim quickly to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic also made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2010 losing the series 4-2 to the Boston Celtics.
The timing is very strange to me though, with the NBA Draft is coming up next month. The Magic need to find their new head coach and they need to find him soon. It is imperative to have a new coach in time to have him on board for the draft and helping the team set for in a new and hopefully successful direction.
This next season will be a very interesting and probably very stressful on for the Orland Magic. Dwight Howard’s contract is up at the end of the season. The Magic will definitely want to either sign Howard or trade him away. The Magic almost traded Howard this past season when it was unclear whether he would accept his team option for another season to close out his contract. The Magic have never forgotten the situation Shaq put them in after the 1996 season. Shaq left the team for The Lakers and the Magic got nothing in return due to the fact Shaq was a free agent.
Howard is a fantastic player and has potential to be an NBA Finals MVP. Howard will however need to tone down the drama that plagued last season in order for that to be possible. He would need to make a decision and resign or have the team deal him away way before the trade deadline if he wants to contend for the NBA Championship this season. One has to hope that with Van Gundy gone Howard can focus more on the court and lead the Magic the way he has shown himself capable of doing.
So will we see Dwight Howards final game with the Magic this year or the continuation of the good career he has had with the Magic. Is a championship in the Magic’s future? I think Dwight Howard’s season and decision has a lot to do with the answer to that question.
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