It’s easy to forget Dwight Howard was among the most dominant and popular players in the NBA not too long ago. The former No. 1 overall pick was once an MVP candidate, and he claimed the title of youngest player ever to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He even led his Magic past LeBron James and the Cavs into the 2009 NBA Finals.
His downfall since has been well documented. After being traded to the Lakers in 2012, he and Kobe Bryant butted heads, and Howard moved on to the Rockets after just one season in the purple and gold.
This has been Howard’s worst statistical season since he was a rookie, and he’s been at the center of trade talk and free agent speculation all year. Last month, the New York Daily News reported the Celtics were zeroing in on D-12. Now, rumors are swirling that Howard might actually return to Orlando.
Howard is under contract for next season, but he can opt out by June 29. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher has reported he would prefer to stay with the Rockets. However, if Houston can’t offer him the contract he wants or simply is not interested (there has been talk that Howard and James Harden are on shaky ground, and of course The Beard is Houston’s top priority), Howard has a list of teams he would consider – and the Magic are on that list.
The Magic have a decent young core, and the organization’s relationship with Howard did not end well the first time, so this might be an empty rumor. Nonetheless, it will be something to watch as free agency opens this summer.
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