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Question of the Day: Dwight Howard says he wants to stay in Orlando. Is that smart? [Updated]

June 1, 2011 |  9:23 am

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss Magic center Dwight Howard, who said Monday he'd prefer to stay in Orlando rather than switch to a larger-market team. Check back throughout the day and weigh in with a comment of your own.

Mike Bianchi, Chicago Tribune

The fact that it’s even a question whether Dwight Howard is being smart by wanting to stay in Orlando shows what’s wrong with the transient mentality that pervades the NBA.

Is it smart for a superstar to show loyalty and stay with the franchise that drafted him, developed him and made him the centerpiece of the team and the town?

Is it smart for a superstar to show loyalty and stay in a mid-major city like Orlando instead of bolting at the first opportunity for L.A., New York or South Beach?

Is it smart for a superstar to want to build a championship where he’s at instead of buying one somewhere else?

Is it smart for an superstar to want to be a leader instead of a follower?

Is it smart for a superstar to want be like Tim Duncan instead of Shaquille O’Neal?

Not only is it smart; it’s incredibly admirable.

Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Is it smart for him to "say" he wants to stay in Orlando? Absolutely. Maintain détente with the Magic fans until he bolts for a huge market.

It doesn't seem to make sense for Howard to actually stay in the shadow of Mickey Mouse. Yes, he can get a larger contract extension in Orlando now before the looming labor dispute sets in, but if he has a deep want to compete for a title and get greater national exposure, he likely needs to look hard at the Shaquille O'Neal exit blueprint from 1996.

Each minute that goes by where the intrastate rival Heat is pile-driving another talented opponent, the message is loud and clear. Getting past the Big 3 to be the Eastern Conference representative in the finals will be mission nearly impossible. It's hard to imagine the young man doing anything but going west.

[Updated at 11:05 a.m.:

Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times

Until Dwight Howard signs the two-year extension the Orlando Magic has on the table, the All-Star center has left the door open to him leaving.

He knows he can make $42.56 million if he signs the extension with the Magic. No other team can pay him as much as the Magic.

So, yeah, he’s smart to stay there, because he’s smart enough to know how much he can earn, smart enough to chase the almighty dollar.

Besides, if Howard is really smart he’ll try to lure a big-time free agent to Orlando, somebody like New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011-12 season. The Magic has some assets to acquire a player like Paul in a trade scenario.

Maybe Howard has that in the back of his mind, and that’s why he has talked about staying in Orlando.]


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Photo: Dwight Howard. Credit: Jason O. Watson / US Presswire