For a season and a half, he waffled and played with Magic fans' emotions. He kept the whole organization in limbo because of his indecision and forced the team to cater to his ever-changing whims before ultimately frustrating everything by either having a true change of heart or fearing a trade to a destination he did not want.
What Howard did in opting in to the final year of his contract without agreeing to an extension in Orlando was one of the dumbest business moves in both Magic history and free agency history. The talk of "loyalty" at that press conference -- no matter what may or may not have happened after Howard's injury -- turned out to be a straw man and Howard was gone five months later.
It says more that Howard never made it back to Orlando until Tuesday night as he rehabbed his back in far off Los Angeles.
The question now though is not how we react to Howard, but how we move on. Howard has made his return to Orlando. He likely will return to his Lake Mary home this summer and spend some time around the city he grew up in as a player. Howard's presence will forever be part of Orlando just like Shaquille O'Neal's was (at least until Tracy McGrady arrived at the earliest or until Dwight Howard led the Magic out of the first round for the first time at the latest).
Dealing with this loss is going to take time and the wound is still fresh for many Magic fans. It may not completely pass until the Magic return to the Playoffs and reach a level of contention again. Until then, it probably is not worth talking about all the good Howard did in a Magic uniform for many fans.
At some point though, as Howard said, we all have to move on. Feelings might have been hurt, but what happened happened, no matter how poorly and insultingly the departure was handled.no comments