Not surprisingly, the sans-Dwight Howard Orlando Magic were kicked out of the playoffs Tuesday by the Indiana Pacers.Without Dwight, the Magic never really had a shot against the Pacers, as they lost in five games.
Post-game the talk quickly turned to the huge offseason challenges Orlando faces.
Orlando TV reporter David Baumann caught up with Magic CEO Alex Martins after the game.
Martins basically gave Howard an ultimatum (emphasis ours).
“Well first of all, we want him back with the team. We want him to sign an extension this summer. And if he decides not to sign an extension this summer, then we’re going to have to make the decisions that are necessary so that we don’t go through a season like we went through this year.“
Translation: “Dwight, we’re no longer going to put up with your act. Either sign a long term deal in the next few months or you’re gone.”
It’s a surprisingly strong statement from Magic brass, considering how long they coddled Dwight and his childish behaviour.
It’s also a very smart power play. The last Dwight Howard rumour said he once again wanted to be traded, but he’s been known to change his mind. By coming out publicly, instead of through anonymous back channels the Magic give themselves the upper hand with both Howard and fans.
Perhaps management has finally come to its senses and will just ship Howard somewhere he doesn’t want to go out of pure spite.
Will that make much of a difference? We have our doubts, but Orlando let it get to this point all on their own.
[h/t Pro Basketball Talk]
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