Even though the 2010-11 NBA season hasn’t ended yet, and even though the league is facing an almost certain lockout with mid-level players (even possibly LeBron James) already threatening to flee to Europe’s generous contracts and lower costs of living, the majority of the sports world wants to focus clearly on what matters most – Dwight Howard’s free agency more than 365 days away.
Of course we know that Los Angeles Lakers fans assume he’ll head west like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Wilbon made the bold statement that the Chicago Bulls are already looking to deal for Howard because no other team has even thought of it yet, and for some reason Boston Celtics fans think that Magic GM Otis Smith would trade Howard to his current division rivals. Hey, maybe someone should ask the man himself. Again.
“I’m not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else,” Howard said, referencing Shaquille O’Neal’s decision to leave the Magic following the 1995-96 season and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else’s path. I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando. But I can’t do it alone. Not only do I need the right teammates, but I need the city behind me. That’s the only way it’s going to get done. We can change this small city that we have — this small market that we have — and we can make it a big market.” (Orlando Sentinel)
Howard said this at a picnic he hosted to celebrate Memorial Day in Orlando, and he also invited the entire city. He could just be saying the right things to eventually save face, but I assume this means he is serious since he didn’t corral all of the people into a building and set it on fire while screaming, “SHAQ AIN’T GOT NOTHING ON ME!”