Has The Dwightmare Begun In Orlando?

The NBA season is finally upon us. Who’s enjoying themselves so far?

Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, for sure. They dropped a small hint on the Celtics (minus Paul Pierce, but still) that the Knicks will seek the division title for themselves, thanks to Melo’s big effort in the opener. Derrick Rose is thrilled, not only because he’s richer by $90 million-plus, but he out-did Kobe Bryant during Kobe Time in L.A., floating in the game winner while Kobe chose (and failed) to beat a triple-team at the buzzer. Kevin Durant got the good times started in Oklahoma City and Chris Paul actually said “being a Clipper is like a dream come true” and nobody called him on it, definitely not after Lob City got off to a promising start at Golden State.

But Dwight Howard? We may have to wash his body language out with soap.

The more you watched the Magic lose to the Thunder, the more you sensed that all isn’t right with Orlando, that this will not end well. Howard has perhaps his weakest surrounding cast in five years and, as you might have heard, he’s headed to free agency next summer. There is the stench of disconnect in the air, if only because Howard won’t commit long-term and subsequently GM Otis Smith and the franchise are on the clock as to what to do with him.

Josh Robbins at the Orlando Sentinel details the Magic’s putrid showing in the season opener, which Dwight mostly attributed to the lockout layoff:

The way the Orlando Magic offense performed Christmas night, you would have thought the team has an entirely new cast, not just a couple of additions here and there.

Two frustrating scoring draughts — each lasting about a quarter, each confounding — cost the Magic in their season opener, a 97-89 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And, now, players say they still need some more time to jell after the lockout-induced layoff and an abbreviated preseason.

“It’s going to take a while because we’ve been off for a long time,” Howard said.

“For people who really don’t understand the game, it takes a while to get back into the swing of playing. No matter what you’ve done all summer, it’s just a different feeling when you’re out there playing against other people.”

And it’s not like the Magic collapsed against the Bobcats; Oklahoma City is for real and Kendrick Perkins usually plays Howard tight, or at least better than most. Howard had 11 points and 15 rebounds but, surprisingly, had a worse stat line than Ryan Anderson (25 points, 10 rebounds). When’s the last time that happened?

This isn’t to suggest in any way that Howard is so distracted by his unsettled situation that it’s affecting his play. After all, he called the court “my sanctuary” and only a fool would say Howard is headed for a poor season, especially with the lack of true competition at center. Howard has too much pride to allow that to happen. But the Magic is clearly without championship-like pieces around him and so you do wonder about his spirit, happiness and mood as this season continues. Without teammates with incredible upside and the absence of numerous assets on the roster, you wonder if Howard, in any way, can see himself in Orlando beyond this season.

The new labor agreement gives Orlando a considerable edge in terms of paying Howard but for someone who makes considerable coin in endorsements, his situation is different than most. He can take “less” and move on. And so, the potential for a Dwightmare in Orlando has officially begun.

Seeing how Kobe obviously didn’t trust anyone else but himself with the ball in the closing moments against Chicago, does Howard end up with the Lakers? Are the Nets still in play despite Brook Lopez’s injury? Who else? Where else? This is the cloud that’ll follow Orlando all season or until something, one way or another, is done. The Cavaliers kept LeBron James in his walk year because they had a shot at a championship (and did eventually win more games than anyone in the regular season) but that’s not the case in Orlando. If the opener was any indication, the Magic aren’t going very far with or without Howard.

What would you do if you were Otis Smith?

56 Comments

  1. JR says:

    The next 10 years of the NBA belong to the Heat, Thunder, Bulls. Doesn’t matter where Dwight goes, they will contend, but will never win against these young and strong teams. Best choice for D12 is to go to Chicago. If he does go to LA, it will be an old/injured Kobe & Dwight team. Pau and Bynum will surely be traded to get Dwight. That means what?? Thunder will shut them down every year in the playoffs. Perkins will close down Dwight like he does evertime, and the young, quick, and talented Westbrook and Durant will run circles around Kobe and the Lakers.

    Oh, and what’s on the other side waiting them?? The now ferociously hungry and immensely talented Heat and the powerful Bulls. NO chance for a championship for Dwight.

  2. Steve says:

    I think Otis Smith should deal Howard to the Nets for Brooke Lopez, Kris Humphries and whatever else he can get from the Nets. It is a WAY better deal than what the Lakers are offering.

  3. Xtreme nightlife says:

    i think D Howard needs to wait until the end of the season, So my lakers can get him for free trade Bynum, luke walton, steve blake for derron williams and call it a day GO LAKERS

  4. Slam76 says:

    If I were Otis Smith?…
    I would apologize to the fans, organization, and owners for being an incompetent GM and running this team into the ground, signing washed up players to long term huge contracts and losing the most dominant center in the game. I would stick my head in the ground like an ostrich and beg the team to accept my resignation.

  5. MackDaddy says:

    Otis should have dealt him last week, what’s he waiting for- the offers to get better as time goes on?
    He better be careful…. the worm could wiggle off the hook and leave him holding his pole in his hand with nothing to show for time wasted.

  6. TheRev says:

    Otis should trade Dwight to the Celtics, or keep him and watch him go there.

  7. humble servant says:

    man give the guy a break we’ve all been watching this game for a long time and if a guy wanna move jus grant them their wishes or they will never give 100%. nobody is gonna perform where they don’t feel comfortable and of course he alone cannot carry a team to the finals alone no matter how good u are look @ the Michael Jordan he had Scottie Pippen and Rodman look @ Kobe he had Shaq earlier on then Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom look also at Paul Pierce he has ray allen and Kevin Garnett i jus list those to show no matter how good a player is they alone cannot carry the burden of taking a team to finals and actually win i agree with my friend trying paring Dwight Howard with Rose with the Chicago Bulls then he has a good shot

  8. yomama says:

    i think the magic should make a deal with the hawks. dwight and jrich for joe johnson and al horford
    how does that sound?

  9. jefongs says:

    Change the coach and get D’will. give the ball more to D12 so he can level up from defensive player to MVP.

  10. maldito says:

    dwight, if you wanna win championship, go to d-rose bulls….

  11. D says:

    Why do people seem to forget that perkins is one of the few centers that can actually handle Dwight maybe it was just this in the game(as he slowed dwight when he played in boston to).What is should happen is simple fire otis smith-he is almost worse than danny ferry and has failed on so many counts its not funny-going from the finals to a 1st round exit what is that saying- Kevin Pritchard is maybe an idea( old portland gm)?,
    Maybe look into a new coach if the record still stinks at the end of the season as it seems that the team has tuned stan out possibly.If this happens you might have a slim chance to rebuild the team with dwight still on it .
    But if both these moves dont happen I would then get a team with the best deal that they could offer the magic while still having some talent remaining on it and giving the magic flexibility like what the clippers did for CP3-he wanted the knicks or lakers apparently but ends up on the clippers so its possible.Teams that could pull this off if dwight would go there hedo would also be included in any deal- twolves if they kept rubio,love,beasley out of it could offer the following d-will,anthony randolph,wes johnson, and maybe a pick or 2 (top 1 protected only)this would give the magic a lower salary,some young players a future with picks.The warriors if the give up monta,there rookie this year,a 1st round(top 2 protected) pick or two + maybe ekpe edoh?.Sacramento could make a move as long as they kept evans and maybe jimmer out any deal as the kings could give cousins,jason thompson,Marcus thornton and maybe a pick(top 3 protected) and the wild card team that might get involved some how the hawks if they gave up teague,horford,marvin williams and a 1st round or two pick for dwight and hedo could work(I dont know if salarys would work but these are just some of the ideas smith could look into if hes not fired soon.

  12. Ricardo says:

    Wait until January. If we are under .50 percentage, get Pau for him.

  13. Larian says:

    The best deal is already on the table, Bynum and other pieces will beat any offer, since Bynum can take Howard’s position right away, although not as good, but pretty close, so Orlando can rebuild right away.

    But I know what is Orlando’s problem, it’s not about trying to keep Howard anymore, because it’s so obvious that they can’t. It’s about the Lakers, Orlando do not want to see another of his best center in the NBA going to the Lakers, so right now they are in a dilemma, trade it to the Lakers to give them a chance to win it all, or wait till next year and have Dallas acquire him as a free agent, and enable Dallas a chance to win it all? It all depend on who the Orlando Magic ownership hates the most,

  14. Semi Kalosi says:

    At this point, whether they get a better supporting cast, Howard won’t be the same… In my opinion I feel his heart is no longer in Orlando which is sad to say, but they need to deal him now for a decent return.

    Dream trade – To the Bulls for Noah, Gibson or Boozer and a future pick…

  15. beofaction says:

    If I was Otis Smith I would resign for destroying a great team that made a trip to the finals, then making one bonehead trade after another and finally backing myself into a corner with Dwight Howard.

  16. R. Mills says:

    If D. Howard hasn’t already he needs to make it perfectly clear that he’s not resigning with the Magic. The Magic then trade him to the LAKERS for Bynum and anyone else the Magic want not named Kobe or Pau. The LAKERS then trade Pau to the Nets for Deron Williams. Kobe, D. Howard, and Deron Williams is championship material. Round out the starting 5 with McRoberts and Ebanks.

  17. Kurdman says:

    I’m sadden to see Howard trying to leave Orlando but his time has come and we Magic fans must accept that. He started his career in Orlando but cannot stay with the Magic forever. He has become the Magic’s image over the years, but if the guy want to go and play with another team, it’s his rights to do so. It doesn’t matter why he wants to go, whether it’s about improving himself more, money or more decision making power. If the Magic can get a good center for him (perhaps someone with the same size and maybe a better shooter), I think they should go on and trade him already before we go deeper into the season. Right now it’s obvious the whole trade thing is affecting him mentally. Last night’s game against the Thunder kind of proved that. On the other hand, I’m very happy to see Glen Davis playing for the Magic. And I think the few new players the Magic got now will become a good addition if they’re giving the chance. The second preseason game against the Heat gave us a glimpse of what those new players can do. The Magic need to focus more on them and give them more minutes to play.

  18. Lakernation all day!! says:

    Dwight coming to la for baby bynum and those draft picks cause magic have no other choice, there isn’t any other skillful centers around the league other than these two lengthy in the paint. I honestly think bynum has more potential than dwight right now becuase he is focused, he wants to prove a point not only to the lakers staff but to the nba that he is a legit player and one of the most dominant. If anyone watched the Lakers preseason games, he got after the ball, he was dominating that paint like the true center he is. At the end of the day, Lakers get DWIGHT!!!! orlando gets bynum w/ some draft picks and possibly another player like world peace, and we pick up dwight and turkolu, and the Lakers on that road to hang up that 18 banner !!! LAKE SHOW ALL DAY!

  19. jerry ocier says:

    i have the best solution for orlando. change the coaching staff, mr stan van gundy been doing great for the magic during the season, but come playoff time they manage to soften and choke, its really a pity because you have such a great talent in mr dwight “superman” howard. i strongly recommend magic ownership to bring in mr. phil jackson as coach with his winning coaches, that will not only make mr. dwight howard very happy, mr. jackson will build a championship team. he is the winningest coach in the nba. so please keep dwight howard, and bring in jackson to build around him. atleast that will let you justify the new 500m arena the owner just built. maybe otis smith should be replaced for making such talent so unhappy to the point of asking to be traded. thank you for listening. hopefully this message gets to the magic ownership. you guys lost the great young shaq before. dont lose this great young talent dwight howard now.
    look lakers wanted a winning team gain, so they bring the phil jackson in, true enough they won so many championships with him. the proven solution magic ownership, management, fans. pls make it happen.

  20. Time For Dwight To Go -From Orlando Fans United says:

    forget dwight, we want bynum!

  21. Joseph03 says:

    If I were Otis Smith???

    I would start by unloading Dwight to the Lakers for whatever package they want along with any Magic player they may deem useful. Then start clearing house and prep for a complete rebuild, Maybe starting with collecting picks and role players at decent contracts and who play hard is better than starting with a player who you would think is the next franchise player then realize he actually isn’t.

    If they get lucky then they can land a superstar via draft or if not then do it via free agency, I would doubt it that some young promising player wouldn’t sign with a team which is almost complete and primed for a title contention if all the right players were already there.

  22. Mitch McClure says:

    Trade Dwight already, The Magic have no chance of winning the title and there is no valuable contract on the whole roster to trade with to help him. I don’t blame Otis for loafting on a trade, it’s not like Chris Paul at all. You can draft good point guards every year but to come along a center like Dwight is once a decade. And the chances that your team aquires that decade center are 1 out of 30 and Magic have gotten two in the last 20 years. What are the chances they get their hands on another domanant Defensive Center that shows Shaq like qualities, but is better than Shaq at defence? I can see the Magic being a terrible team for the next 10 years

  23. jacknohara says:

    One game only isn’t enough to say anything … People like to say that DH12 is a beast and things alike but 11 and 15 are very common numbers for him, actually …. his offense is almost non-existent, so when he can’t power his way in to the scoreboard, he has nights like that … no big deal

  24. chiz says:

    kept howard – trade nelson for a better guard… you dont want to lose a dominant center… im not a magic fan but as i see things you need a good point guard in order to use the power of the center… :) payback for the mavs! go heat…

  25. soSAD says:

    Trade him before it’s too late. After this we all know he want’s to leave otherwise he would’ve already signed a new contract. He’s too obvious..

  26. vtwin says:

    Ok, Did anybody actually watch how 5 (yes all 5) Thunder where at Dwight when he would take the ball to the rim?
    Did anybody notice they showed all of Dwights Xmas games stats and he averages 11pg on xmas?
    Since game 1 sets the season, wheres the Marc Jackson article that hes a horrible coach and should go back to announcing games? The only thing this game showed us, that he still cant shoot free throws, even with new shooting coach and “practice”. Get rid of Otis first, then get Jerry Sloan.. Forget superman, and become the new Mailman Dwight Howard :) The magics 3point shootout game peaked 3 years ago. Only nice thing from the magic was Von Wafer attacking the rim…

  27. Nobody says:

    You know, the more you read about these superstars strangling their teams in their walk year the more you have to respect LeBron’s decision. Look at Vince Carter (Raptors), Kobe (when he wants to be traded), Carmelo, and now Dwight, their teams all suffer. LeBron actually made his team the best during regular season and took care of everything in off season. Yeah, it’s true the Cavs didn’t get anything in return. But hey, I bet they would choose to take the chance and win the championship that year rather than trading him and lose the season.

  28. NBAFAN36 says:

    howard is not ataying in orlando he really wants to win a championship the magic will probably struggle this year maybe be a bottom 5 playoff team if that i see him leavng maybe during the year to get something for him maybe he goes to the lakers.

  29. AJ says:

    howard didnt look like he cared yesterday, barely any hard post moves instaed we saw running hooks and bank shots. oh and by the way it may suprise you but anderson is a good player!!!!

  30. charles manson says:

    i might be one of the biggest lebron haters, though, the very last paragraph shows quite a lot. what do you mean lebrons team had a “good chance at at a title”, while dwight’s doesnt? whatever team lebron played for when he was 24 was a contender no matter the teammates.. I mean do you really think mo williams, west and ilgauskas are better than nelson, jrich, turkoglu and big baby?? the magic are not bad, actually they never were, its just that howard (the fact that hes a center helps a lot) will never be able to guide a team to a title by himself.. you wanna know why? because hes not a superstar, in the same way that melo is not a superstar. players like them need another star to drive their team to the ring..so who can? lebron is an example, nowitzki is such, wade, rose, kobe, maybe chris paul will prove to be so.. but howard is not the kind of guy you will include even in the top 10 players in the league.. he is athletic, hes a beast, hes probably the best defender in his position the nba has seen. but he’s still a very very incomplete player. cant play with his face to the basket, cant shoot the ball in no way whatsoever and is not as dominant offensively to balance out for all these weaknesses, in the way shaq was..sorry melo, and sorry dwight but this is just the way it is. join deron and maybe you ll get to a ring some day

    • Geez says:

      I never really comment but for you to say Lebron is an example I don’t understand it. He hasn’t one a championship yet and joined a player that has proven himself (Wade). So how is he a good example of a person that can win a championship. I don’t get it. I think you should restate that and say the same thing you said about Chris Paul. Lebron might prove to be that type of player. But then again how can you distinguish if the driver is Wade or Lebron? or would it be both of them if they win a championship?

    • johnz says:

      centers don’t need to shoot well to be dominant Shaq can’t even shoot 70% of his free throws…centers need to dominate their position to be called dominant and thats what D12 is doing..

    • Fafa Shangu says:

      @charles manson…LeBron is not a superstar. A star only becomes super when he doesn’t leave a team to become a supporting cast to an existing superstar. D-Wade is a superstar. He won a championship even without L.James, but LeBron needs Wade to “hopefully” get a championship trophy.

    • dave23 says:

      2nd in MVP last season = not a superstar……???? the stats really speak for themselves,,, Best defensive player in the league…..the guy is a superstar and will win a or some championships before time is over.

  31. Bulls Fan! says:

    Trade him to the Lakers for Pau and Steve Blake! Don’t wait for the trade deadline and spoil two teams seasons. Do it NOW!

  32. MikeyB says:

    Trade to da bulls!

  33. JR says:

    Shaq started his career in Orlando. Dwight started his career in Orlando.
    Shaq labelled himself “Superman”. Dwight labelled himself “Superman”.
    Shaq ditched Orlando to play in LA. Dwight will ditch Orlando to play in LA???

    “Dwight Howard and I don’t really have a relationship. I don’t like people who lack originality. The whole Superman thing doesn’t work for me. … It’s kind of weird how he’s handled his career. He wants to be Superman. They’re talking about him going to L.A. when his contract is up. When I go back to the Orlando area in the offseason, they are doing all the same things for him they did for me. But that’s a mistake. He’s Dwight Howard. He’s not Shaq. Be your own man. Create your own brand.” –Shaq

  34. mig says:

    I would trade him for the best possible player i can get whihc right now is to the lakers for andrew bynum and maybe even a couple of other less important players.

  35. KMill says:

    Dwight Howard is acting like such a LOSER!!! Any player with the least bit of desire, determination, and professionalism would ALWAYS give their best out on the floor. They wouldn’t mope around like a child that just lost their favorite toy!! He’s being paid A LOT of money to play basketball. He has NO RIGHT to be giving weak effort or displaying a bad attitude on the floor. He apparently doesn’t have the ability to lead a team to success he has to be traded to a team that is already having success. How WEAK is that!!! I hope he either WAKES UP or ends up on the worst team in the league for the rest of his career.

    • SHAQ 2 says:

      hmmm… why wont you say that to ORLANDO management??? if they pick up the right pieces for a right amount of price.. then this wont happen… as an athlete you have a dream of becoming the best .. or shall i say be the world champion… he badly wanna win a ring and the management blocks this dream.. due to poor dcixion…

  36. Gustavo says:

    Dwight should go to the Lakers! Even if the lakers only offer Bynum its a good deal for the Magic because next year he will leave for nothing. Bynum is one of the best centers in the league, he is young and still will improve his game. Its a good deal

  37. Moe says:

    Orlando should push to get Bynum and someone else for Howard. If their smart they would push for a trade soon because if the magic wait then they will have to accept a trade at the end of the trade deadline and it will hurt them.

  38. gotoLAKERSnow! says:

    just read my name! championship is waiting for kobe and dwight!

  39. Tautvydas says:

    In my opinion Magic need to make a trade as soon as possible because they dont want the same scenario like Cavaliers with Lebron, when they got nothing from it.Magic want to get a lot from Howard trade, but if they will take it longer, they will have to trade him and they wont get anything good from it. I think Lakers should start a trade talks with Warriors for Monta Ellis or sixers with andre iguodala

  40. nomer says:

    trade the MAN coz hes not SUPER anymore.

  41. Jose says:

    There is something I have always had very clear on my mind. No matter what team (and sport) I am rooting for, I always expect to have some chance to seeing them win the title.
    Of course not all the teams can fight for that, but it is their responsability to try to. I mean it is manager’s responsability.
    That’s what keeps the fans excited and supporting their teams.
    So, I just wonder what sense it makes to have a super star like Howard in your team, when you know the rest aren’t as good as you need in order to win the title.
    It doesn’t make any sense, right?
    Why hadn’t they done anything before this season started? I don’t know. Did they think they could get a better deal trading on Howard at the end of this season?Probably.
    Did they think Orlando could keep up with previous presason’s expectation?I don’t think so.
    So, why hadn’t they done anything?

  42. Krespino says:

    DH needs to go. He is gone already mentally. Any further talk of the odds of convincing him to stay or improving the cast around him is pure nonsense, waste of time. The Magic should concentrate on nothing but building the Dwight-less team. The longer this change takes or the realisation of the trade, the worse will be the impact on the chances of building a chemistry without DH. The sooner the better. Decision making is necessary.

  43. Uncle EJ says:

    If I was Otis I would trade him to outer Siberia with a contract so tough he couldn’t get out of it until he died. Well maybe not outer Siberia, but Toronto, or some other obscure place!!!!!

  44. pop says:

    Would fire van gundy and hire larry brown. Would trade the whole team except howard of course and get deron williams, and then start a better relationship w the franchise player(dwight).

  45. Peter says:

    I agree. Magic need to get a deal done , otherwise it’s like Carmelo & Denver all over again. This will drag on all season until Smith gets a decent deal for Orlando.Sport is a funny game at times , not long ago the Magic were in the NBA finals.

    • Rolando says:

      If i were Otis smith? Deal Howard directly to LA for Bynum and several others. I should insist of getting Bynum because Gasol is getting old, at least the trade exception the lakers have and several picks included 2012 first round. The Magic ain’t gonna do nothing special with this team so do what is best for both or else he’s gone without getting nothing in return. Deal him as soon as possible, time is tickin’.

    • jackson mark says:

      as a gm or a coach i’d prefer getting galinari, chandler, mozgov, felton to the cleveland situation. it might take some time to get a good deal.

    • armando says:

      DH will probably end up in boston next year if magic can’t find a good deal.

      allen & garnett are willing to get less for next year just to stay in boston and be a contender