Blog Entry

Howard says 'The Decision' is a cautionary tale

Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I don't know if you know this, but Dwight Howard is going to be a free agent in the summer of 2012. True story. And you might not think so, but it's going to be kind of a big deal.

There's already pretty much a new report, some new speculation or a new rumor every couple days about who Howard likes, who he doesn't, what he wants or where he wants to live. It's not quite a frenzy yet, but you can be sure it'll get there.

The good news is, we've already been through this rodeo once. LeBron James' free agency in the summer of 2010 is about as good a peek into how crazy the whole NBA recruitment process can be. Howard's extravaganza won't touch LeBron's for a lot of reasons, one of them being because Howard's not going to let it. Via Sports Radio Interviews, Howard was asked if LeBron's process and "The Decision" provided a blueprint on how not to do things:

“I think so. I think the way he did just seems like it just made people seem he ditched the whole town of Cleveland. I don’t think he meant it like that, but that’s how it came off and it hurt a lot of people. I actually talked to a lot of people in Cleveland who were just hurt by how he did it, so I think that was the biggest thing. He did everything he could in Cleveland. I think he felt like he just had to move on.”

Awareness, it's a good thing, Dwight. The fact that people have learned from LeBron's fateful night in a plaid button-up is a good thing. Kevin Durant said once that process and attention intrigued him to wonder what it would be like, but like Howard, acknowledged that it's probably not the best way to do things. LeBron's decision had good intentions and definitely made for great TV. We were all watching, which was the point. But he alienated fans that love(d) him and ticked off a lot of others. Howard, who's one of the most likable personalities in the league, definitely wants to avoid anything like that.

Just in watching it, Howard said, that he could immediately see the issues. He said he could see it in LeBron that the whole process had really worn on him.

“I watched it live. I could tell he [LeBron James] was hurt before he even made his decision known to everybody. He was very hurt and it just looked like he really didn’t want to get up there and do what he was doing. He had to make the best decision for him and his career and to just see all the stuff that happened after he made his decision. I think that’s the thing that hurt Cleveland fans the most is the way he did it. I think that’s what hurts them the most.”

I think anyone with a brain understands that LeBron wasn't intentionally trying to make everyone hate him. And maybe he did sense it was a bad idea at one point. That's all been beaten to death, but with Howard being the prize of 2012 and a player near the level of LeBron in terms of how hard teams are going to try and woo him, the fact he understands what didn't work is certainly good. At least for him and his brand. Because in the end, that's what these guys are trying to protect.

There will be no Howard "Decision," no one-hour special, no attention grab. At least that's the plan right now.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:56 am

Howard says 'The Decision' is a cautionary tale

The similarity between Howard and James does not lead to anything like the intense media blitz that James, Wade and Bosh endured. Howard will more than likely be traded during the season if there is one. That would look more like Carmelo Anthony than LeBron James. If you remember, Anthony picked his destination and only there would he agree to sign an extension. Howard may do the same thing.

After James, teams are leery of allowing their superstars to become free agents and leave for little gain (Cleveland did get a #1 draft pick and a huge traded player exception which they parlayed into the number 1 pick in the 2011 draft - Kyrie Irving.) Denver cleaned house with New York, however, stripping off some really good players which they may keep or trade (they traded Raymond Felton for Andre Miller and a 1st round pick from Portland during the draft.)

Many writers believe Howard gets traded to the Lakers. In return Orlando likely gets Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol with some fodder to match salaries (if the CBA even requires matching.) I think Howard really wanted Orlando to work out. When they lost in the first round to Atlanta it seemed the writing is on the wall. New Jersey, Lakers, or who?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or