The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Orlando Magic tonight in the first meeting between Dwight Howard and his former team since the dramatics of this summer that ultimately led to Howard forcing his way out of Orlando for Los Angeles and leaving the Magic in shambles. Rather than be professional and let business run its course on the basketball court, Dwight has again opened his big mouth to revisit the torturous months of drama that literally no one on the planet enjoyed.
In a lengthy interview Saturday after Los Angeles Lakers practice, Howard reflected on how he completely screwed Orlando over without a hint of irony:
“I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could’ve done better. There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides,” Howard said in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview after Los Angeles Lakers practice on Saturday. “But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we’ve got to move forward.
“It doesn’t really matter to talk about it now. It’s over and done with,” he said. “There are a lot of things we both could’ve done, but at the end of the day, it happened just the way it was supposed to happen. There was a reason behind everything. We might not see it or understand it at the time, but there was a reason why everything happened the way it happened and I think it made both parties stronger.”
“Orlando will always be my home. That’s where I grew up, really. The fans were great to me for eight years. I have some unbelievable memories,” he said. “But like I told you guys when I got here, this is a new chapter in my life. This is my home now. And I’m looking forward to making a lot of great memories here.”
“I will always be grateful. They gave me an opportunity, Rich and the rest of the DeVos family,” Howard said. “They wanted me to come in, change the city and we did some great things, despite how everything ended. Our team and the organization, we opened up a lot of doors for fans and businesses around the city, with the new arena and all that stuff. We had some unbelievable years. There’s no reason for anybody to hold their heads on what happened in Orlando. At the end of the day, there had to be a business decision.”
“It’s my job to let people know that when you get traded or ask for a trade from a team, it has nothing to do with a city or the fan base,” he said. “It’s a business decision. Yeah, it may affect people because that’s their team that they love and they want to see their team do good, but at the end of the day we only get one shot at this and I have to do what I believe is going to be best for me.”
That’s great, Dwight. But I think this about sums up everyone’s feelings about you right about now:
You screwed Orlando. Period. Orlando was bending over backwards to your needs, even firing Stan Van Gundy, one of the best coaches in the NBA, to make you happy.
Even signing some of the worst players in the NBA to worse contracts (Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Chris Duhon, Jameer Nelson, etc.) and crippling their cap flexibility to make you happy.
Even putting up with your dramatic nonsense for months with just the faintest hopes of bringing you back, despite the fact that you not-so-secretly were aching to go to Brooklyn, to make you happy.
And where did all of that get them? Literally nowhere. They lost their only quality asset in Ryan Anderson to New Orleans this offseason, the only player they added of any value in trading Howard was extremely-average guard Arron Afflalo, no one on the team is averaging over 15 points per game this year, they’re currently 5-10 despite having the fourth highest payroll in the NBA and will continue to be over the cap by about $20 million through next season.
Meanwhile, Howard is playing for the championship-favorite Lakers (once Steve Nash comes back, of course) alongside future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in sunny southern California. Yeah.
Dwight, do us all a favor right quick:
Honestly, if you weren’t currently powering my fantasy team to a probable championship in a pay league, I would REALLY go off on you.