ORLANDO, Fla. (WFAN/AP) — Bad news, Nets fans.
The relationship between Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic appears to be improving — at least a bit.
Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins said he sat down with the All-Star center Monday morning, a day after Howard said he hadn’t spoken to general manager Otis Smith since asking the team to be traded.
Martins said he remains confident things still can be done to convince Howard that Orlando can build a championship team.
“We have to continue to do what’s right for this organization to win a championship and the first piece of that is keeping Dwight,” Martins said at the team’s annual media day. “And we’re doing everything we can to ensure that we do that. All I would say from a fan’s standpoint is I believe, I want them to believe and I think we need to continue to show Dwight that we do want him here. … Our fans need to make sure that we show him the love.”
Then, after speaking at length for two straight days about all that was wrong with management, Howard said that the door remains open for him to re-sign.
“As of a right now, I have on a Magic uniform. … If it’s meant for me to stay here, then I’ll stay,” Howard said. “I love this city and there’s no place I’d rather be than Orlando. I just want to make sure that we have the right things here so we can win a championship. And I’m all about change. If you’re willing to change and willing do what it takes to win, then you’ve got me.
“You only get one time around the track. There’s no reset button. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunity to win,” Howard added. “You gotta do what it takes to win.”
Howard can opt out of his current contract in July 2012. Smith has previously given his agent, Dan Fegan, permission to speak with New Jersey, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers about possible trades.
The Nets were previously reported to be atop Howard’s wish list.
Martins said that despite Howard’s claim Sunday that none of his input has been taken into account by management in regards to what changes he’d like to see the Magic make, that the trade for Boston big man Glen “Big Baby” Davis was one they did do.
“It’s a conversation,” Martins said. “It’s not a be all, end all. And I do think that Dwight’s input is important and we’re gonna continue to solicit Dwight’s input. But, the final decisions rest on Otis. Otis is the head of this basketball operation. And he is the only one that knows how all the pieces will fit together properly. And he can solicit input from anyone and he will solicit input.
“But at the end of the day, it’s Otis’ decision to make,” he said.
Will Howard stay in Orlando or force his way out — to the Nets perhaps? Sound off below…
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