Blog Entry

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:24 pm
Dwight Howard has started making a list of cities to bolt to even as he says he wants to win a championship in Orlando. But doesn't some of that burden fall on him?
Posted by Matt Moore

The worst part of all this is that Dwight Howard won't come out and say it. He's pulling the whole routine. From saying how much he loves the fans, to saying he "just" wants to win a championship, to leaking to the press through people close to him that he wants to go to a big market, he's following the plan, the blueprint, the design.

The LeBron James "Set Up Your Escape" plan. Copyright 2010. 

From Ken Berger, 

Howard evidently is willing to be patient. A free agent in 2012 along with the Hornets' Chris Paul, Howard has yet to form a strong opinion one way or the other, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Stay or go? To paraphrase LeBron, what should he do? If he does leave, Howard has his eyes on two teams -- the Lakers and Knicks -- as the big-market destinations where he'll chase down his championships and marketing opportunities if things don't work out in the Sunshine State. The Nets, who are supposed to be in Brooklyn by then, also are in the mix, the person said.
via Magic's troubling questions surround futures of Howard, Arenas - NBA - Basketball.

You've seen this before, right? With Shaquille O'Neal, obviously, in the same city, leaving for one of those cities on Howard's list, then winning championships while yet another small market team is made out to be the farm system. (But really, revenue sharing and parity isn't a problem in this league!) You've seen this before with LeBron James, never saying he was going to leave, saying he loved the fans, and that he just wants to win a championship. 

And that's the big one, right there. Because somewhere along the way, that's become our excuse. It predates even Kevin Garnett, but he's the most recent example. Any sort of franchise-crippling behavior and hostage-holding endeavors are excused in the pursuit of "winning a championship." The problem? This talk of winning a title always seems to come without any responsibility for the player. It's always about the GM, the coach, the organization doing more for the free-agent-to-be. 

Dwight Howard's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to stop leaving 4.8 points per game on the floor with my free-throw shooting." He's not saying, "I want to win a championship, so I'm going to work on my footwork beyond a three-day session with Hakeem Olajuwon and become a truly dominant offensive center." He's not saying, "I want a championship, so I'm going to lead my guys to one." Instead he's laughing, making commercials, ratcheting up technical fouls as he spirals towards a suspension, and setting up the blame to be elsewhere. 

We're supposed to believe that if the Magic fail to win a title, it's due to a lack of endeavor or ingenuity on Otis Smith's part. But what has Smith done in Orlando? He's provided Howard with a crack stretch four with perimeter range and a versatile combo-forward who could run the pick and roll. When those options overstayed their usefulness, he jettisoned them, with no regard for their contribution to the franchise, because he was doing everything in his power to secure a championship-caliber team for Howard. He brought in Vince Carter, former All-Star. He helped develop Jameer Nelson as a sub-All-Star caliber point guard. He brought in Brandon Bass for a true power forward. He found a steal in young Ryan Anderson. He flipped Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis for a range of talent, including the player Howard had found the most success in the pick and roll with, Hedo Turkoglu, and a top perimeter player in Jason Richardson. Gilbert Arenas was icing on the cake, for crying out loud. 

And we're supposed to believe that Orlando hasn't done enough? Sure Howard had a dominant first half. But then he vanished against the Celtics. The Magic keep trying to find different perimeter concoctions to overtake the Celtics, but in reality? The best way to beat the Celtics is to bash their head in with the most powerful center in the game.  The same center who still, even in an MVP-worthy season, has trouble establishing position, and often follows the same footwork time and time again, leading to blocks, turnovers, and frustration. Howard never adapts to how the Celtics defend him, instead he wonders why the rest of the Magic can't hit a shot. 

This isn't to say Howard isn't an elite player. He is, by any possible measure. He's having an MVP-type season. But he's already starting to formulate an escape plan to get him out of Orlando without sacrificing his public image. He's making the failures out to be everyone's but his own. He'll wind up in a big market that can lure top free agents or trade prospects and he'll simply overwhelm others with talent, as we've seen the Lakers and Celtics do over the past four seasons.  And then he'll be lauded as the greatest, even if he doesn't improve a bit. 

If Howard wants to play in a bigger market to expand his commercial potential, fine. He's a businessman, he's got to take care of his own. If he wants to play somewhere he'll amazingly get more attention than he already does, have bigger parties, or more celebrity opportunities, that's his right. As a free agent, you get to decide where you work. But don't pretend that everything is done in the pursuit of a championship. A championship is more than just an overwhelming amount of talent. It's about sacrifice, devotion, and a commitment to being the absolute best part of your team you can be. 

If Dwight Howard really wants to win a championship, if he truly wants to be great, he needs to take responsibility for that endeavor, and not hold a franchise hostage, forced into panic over the prospect of losing him. 

But then, that's no longer the model.

Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2011 10:10 am

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

He's a free agent next year he can go anywhere he wants.

Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2011 8:05 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Are you trying to say that he's different from every other athelete on the planet that's had his ego stroked since grade school, who's be told he's the best thing to ever happen and people do almost anything for? C'mon! Howard will do the same thing that they all do and jump ship. The only thing that might keep him in Orlando is if this year or next they win the championship. You can see his attitude has change in the last few years from a "green" kid to knowing he's a superstar and making demands.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2011 5:57 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

The problem all these guys have is THEY had teams that could win it....THEY just did not.  Lebron was on multiple 60+ win teams, Howard hasbeen there as well.  The Heat did it without them and you can hardly say their championship team was loaded.  Cowards...give me the money, give me the fame....but just don't expect oo much.  A JOKE!

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: February 8, 2011 5:50 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

These guys are all pussy's!!! Man up and tell us how ya really feel for once. Pro athletes are all men collecting their big ass cheques. But when push comes to shove, They curl up like a baby and ask for something better. WHO CARES!!! I  need this guy to win, I need to play here to be happy. SHUT THE HELL UP!!! Does anyone understand the concept of a CONTRACT anymore? Who are the real General Manager's on the NBA.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:54 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

This is such BS, he ain't going to pull a Shaq, and he sure is not going to do what loser Lebron did. He is not that type of person. This is just another reporter being a reporter and reporting rumor instead of fact.

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:36 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

NY it is...Amare n Dwight...thats a 5 yr dynasty...that definitely would be great for the Knicks

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:51 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Look i am in orlando, they give him everything they can. he allso need's a back up.but look at the hole thing, the nba players cry now.
it's never there falt.(YEA RIGHT)If you ask me we should bring back the old school players, at least they played with hart for there team. not these guys, some times i don't even watch the hole game because they bitch so much. it sucks.. that's right there's more drama in the game then a real game. thats the them big money so they can cry... what happen...... to the owners, they work for you. don't let them tell you how to run your team. they don't  work hard untill the playoffs. that's what they do, since there all boy's and can't get a hard foul. the old school guys why don't they say something? i know they hate the way the nba is now. but they can't say shit about it because the leage.dame i wonder why. you should do a story on why do nba players cry about some much,and team up with other allstars. so they don't have to work so hard during the season, because trust me you can see it...

ps: turst me dwight will leave.

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:12 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

it's funny seeing all the idiots here with your ridiculous trade ideas.  if your own team doesn't want the player you're trying to trade to get howard, why in the world would orlando want him?  THINK about the other team's needs before suggesting such crazy scenarios.  i'd love to trade a d-leaguer and a bag of peanuts for carmelo but that isn't going to happen.  neither is howard for bynum/shaq/any other oft injured or old washed up player you're thinking of.

Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:07 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Its most likely going to happen.

Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:24 pm

Dwight Howard is already setting up an escape

Never happen keep dreaming buddy.

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