Dwight Howard held an impromptu picnic for fans in Orlando Monday – Howard picked up the tab for the food, parking and police – and the paper that was allegedly trying to run him out of town showed up and talked to the best center in the NBA about his future in O-Town.
“I’m not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else,”
“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.”
The question I have about his first sentence … why not? You’re seeing the beginning of a dynasty in Miami because Chris Bosh followed LeBron to team up with Dwyane Wade last summer. The Celtics were savvy enough to trade for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen adding them to Paul Pierce to form a trio that went to the NBA Finals twice in three years. The Lakers only won back-to-back titles because they traded for Pau Gasol (heist!). If Howard doesn’t team up with another superstar or two, how can he possibly expect to beat the Heat in the next 3-4 years?
I admire Howard’s insistence on wanting to start “his own path,” but Orlando has regressed for two years. Finals in 2009, out in the 2nd round in 2010, out in the first round in 2011. I’m not sure how they can improve in the near future – not with a declining Hedo and a declining Arenas on the books at top dollar – and a decision must be made about streaky Jason Richardson this summer. Unless they can hoodwink the Nets or Hornets into trading them Deron Williams or Chris Paul (ha), how can the Magic get Howard a 2nd or 3rd elite player to compete with the Heat in the East?
Then again, maybe Howard’s been coached to say all of this because it sounds great to the public and he can blame the Magic for not getting him the necessary help.
Dwight Howard says his preference is to stay with the Orlando Magic and ‘start his own path’ [Sentinel]
* Obviously Howard didn’t mention LeBron’s name (though, as you saw above, he did mention Shaq), but that’s how I read it based on last summer’s shenanigans.