|Dwight Howard is not the owner of the Magic, according to the Magic. (Getty Images)|
The Magic insisted on Tuesday that it isn't All-Star center Dwight Howard, as one recent report indicated.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that_the Magic issued a terse statement in response to a recent report that indicated that Howard, who is set to be a free agent this summer and requested a trade earlier this season, would be granted the right to fire coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith if he decided to re-sign with the Magic.
Magic officials released a statement from Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins that read: "The only person(s) who have the final say on coaches and management is the Orlando Magic ownership."
Beyond that, Martins would not comment. As he has before, Martins cited an agreement that he has made with Howard in which both parties pledged that they would not divulge the details of their conversations.
Howard would not speak with reporters after the Magic completed their shootaround today to prepare for tonight's game against the Miami Heat.
Orlando wants Howard to re-sign. They need Howard to re-sign, at least for their short-term playoff hopes. But no functional organization, as the Magic have been for decades now, would leverage itself in such a way. Making such promises to Howard would make life impossible for the coaching and management staffs, and doing so would come without any guarantee that he necessarily would be convinced to stick around. At that point, the franchise becomes one big puppet show.
Any business with sound principles would recoil at the implications of the idea that one employee was more influential than an established chain of command. Martins not only owed it to Van Gundy and Smith to offer a response, he owed it to himself, to his owner and to his fanbase.
The Howard trade saga has hijacked the NBA's trade deadline headlines and reportedly led to some tense feelings in Orlando's locker room. The concept of the franchise needs to stay above that fray, and that's what Martins attempted to do here.