Since the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in a shocking second-round sweep, the rumors have been swirling. I spent an hour on Twitter yesterday talking about it. Several posts on the Orlando Sentinel began preparing fans for it and speculating about it.
It won't stop. Not until we know where Dwight Howard is playing in 2012. It is going to hound him and the Magic throughout the 2011-12 season. There is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing Dwight can do about it.
The media is going to churn its rumors and speculations for the next year. They have ink and time to fill and readers view/read it.
"[Why] does it seem like the writers of Orlando [S]entinel are [trying to] push me out of Orlando with dumb articles. It's annoying. Can I enjoy my summer and get ready for next season in Orlando. [Please]. Same thing [you] guys did to Shaq."
Howard has repeated this mantra since the season ended and whenever anyone asked about his future. He is under contract in Orlando for 2011-12 and plans to do whatever he can to help the Magic win the 2012 championship. I do not beleive anyone is doubting that. Howard's effort in any game has never been questioned and he has always been a professional.
But he also has to realize that the local media is not the one spurring all the talk. The national media has stirred many of the rumors and whether Howard likes it or not, it is something Magic and NBA fans are talking about. He had to see this coming after the storm LeBron's free agency caused just a year ago.
As Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote: "Dwight must know that the job of the media is to analyze, scrutinize, dissect, bisect and trisect every angle of an important issue. And, frankly, there is no more important issue in the Orlando sports world than whether or not Dwight re-signs with the Magic. All you have to do is like the Magic after Shaq left and the Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron left to know the calamatous impact of such an event.
"Ben Golliver, a writer for CBSSports.com may have put it best when he wrote: 'No one — especially not Howard — should be surprised by the volume of coverage of his future. It's far and away the dominant storyline concerning the franchise from now until the second he is signed to an extension or traded.'"
We all wish this would go away, but unfortunately it will not until Howard's future is decided -- trade, free agency or extension.
Right now it seems everyone is trying to posture themselves to look like the good guys when this thing is all said and done. Otis Smith said he has offered Howard an extension while Howard continues to say he has not seen an extension.
Someone is not telling the whole truth.
A lot of what is going to happen to decide Dwight's future is going to happen behind closed doors. That is likely the way it should be. Howard should not have to make his decision -- an extremely personal one that does not entirely affect fans and observers -- completely in the public. But Howard's exasperation over this shows where his focus lies right now.
Howard said on Twitter: "lol I his hate it cuz if I go nowhere in Orlando all I hear is stay. My dog started speaking the other day. All he said was stay lol. Hahaha. I'm like. I ain't left or trying to."
Magic fans are doing what they can to show appreciation for Howard. But he is clearly getting tired of all this talk. Howard wants to focus on the season.
Again, Howard said on Twitter: "I'm not blaming the media. I'm saying stop with the dumb articles. They don't make be decision of mine. I jus don't want Orlando fans to believe them. Cuz they don't know. I love my city."
It might just be naivete on Howard's part. For whatever reason he might be denying the attention he knew -- or should have known -- this story would get. If he wants it to go away, he knows all he has to do is make his decision sooner rather than later (even if it is to leave Orlando behind closed doors to Otis).
This talk is going to continue until Howard makes a decision. It is going to be an extremely long season ... at least until a decision is made.
Photos via DayLife.com.