When LeBron James hosted an hour long special on ESPN to declare he was signing with the Miami Heat (known as “The Decision”), many people (mostly Cleveland Cavaliers fans) started to dislike him. The way James took care of his free agency situation started a trend of superstars demanding/signing with other stars to form “super teams”. It wasn’t the first time it happened, but since James is regarded as the NBA’s best overall talent, most NBA stars thought, “If he’s teaming up with other stars, I have to do so to beat him.”
Enter Dwight Howard. Howard is currently (and surprisingly) an Orlando Magic. Throughout the past two seasons, we’ve heard mumbles on how he’s been demanding a trade and was involved in the firing of his head coach and general manager. All of this occurs, and Howard opts-in to finish the rest of the 2011-12 season and the next as a Magic.
You’re probably thinking to yourself how can someone be so indecisive. Howard has been demanding a trade to the Brooklyn Nets since midway through the 2011-12 season and has publicly stated his desire to play there alongside Deron Williams.
The Nets have been aggressive in trying to acquire the All Star center since his demands went public. Brooklyn has offered numerous trade requests that have all been denied by Orlando management. It’s gotten to the point where the Nets have recently agreed to a max contract with current center Brook Lopez. In the new CBA, a signed player can’t be traded until midway through the next season, so Lopez can’t be trade bait until January 2013.
Numerous teams have also inquired about Howard’s services. Examples are the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks. The problem is Howard only wants to play for the Nets and won’t sign an extension with any other team if traded, which is why he’s still in Orlando.
It’s unfortunate the ignorance of a star player is the reason why a franchise can’t clean house. The Magic are trying desperately to move him before next season but have failed miserably. And to think all of this could’ve been avoided if he didn’t opt-in when he clearly didn’t want to.
Part of this blame does fall on the Magic. They knew Howard was going to leave after last season and wanted to. So what was the point of persuading him to stay for just one more year to add more drama? Clearly management didn’t think of this when talking to him. Now they’re trying to rid of him. It makes no sense.
Howard wasn’t the first player to do this to a franchise. Around midway through last season, Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams were both unhappy stars that wanted out. Anthony, instead of Howard, refused to sign an extension and made it clear he wasn’t staying. He set his eyes on the Big Apple and the New York Knicks before eventually being traded there for a kitchen sink of role players. Williams’ relationship with Jerry Sloan caused the Hall of Fame coach to retire and Williams packed his bags to New Jersey (now Brooklyn).
I think that there should be disciplinary actions brought down on players like Howard. The NBA is a business, and the players should only have a say in where they go if they’re free agents. Imagine telling your boss you demand a trade to a new office or you won’t work. You think your boss will beg you to come back? Of course not. He’ll just go to his application list and call the first person that sparks his interest.
That’s why I don’t dislike LeBron James. Of course “The Decision” was publicly aired on television, but most people forget that was to donate the money to the Boys and Girls Club of America. It wasn’t like he wanted a camera to say, “HAHA see yah’ Cleveland! I’m joining Wade and Bosh!” He was also a free agent, so James had every right to address what team he’d play for.
Back to the disciplinary action. If a player holds back an organization like Howard is currently doing, he should be suspended without pay until further notice. I know it sounds harsh, but this has been going on for nearly two seasons. The Orlando Magic and its fans don’t deserve to be going on the Internet every day to see Howard in their uniform while he wants to wear another. The other punishment should be trading him to the Charlotte Bobcats, although that’s probably worse than the first option. I bet David Stern wouldn’t veto that trade.
Dwight Howard is the poster child of what the new CBA was supposed to block. It was supposed to block star players from demanding trades to another team to form a super trio. It was supposed to increase luxury tax and decrease cap space to avoid this. Unfortunately, it’s failed to this point.
Howard is going to get what he wants, but his indecision screwed up a franchise’s early rebuilding stages. There’s still time to rid him, but other franchises know he’s only committing to Brooklyn. People dislike LeBron James for making a decision, but they should turn that attention to Dwight Howard for his indecisiveness.