Now that Dwight Howard has had a quiet and productive existence with the Atlanta Hawks, he talked about the end of his time with the Orlando Magic.
Howard claims the Magic agreed to trade him after the 2011 lockout before he could opt out in 2012. Howard ended up opting in with the Magic in March, which took away his free agency option and led to his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"After the situation in Orlando, I never really came out and said my side of the story about what was going on there while I was there and the reasons for me wanting to leave," said Howard. "After that, people just decided that, ‘He’s not going to talk about it, so we might as well come up with a narrative and what we think went on in L.A. and what went on with Kobe [Bryant] and what we think happened with James [Harden].’ I never had a personal vendetta with either one of those guys. People took it as me having a problem with them being on a team with another superstar.
"I’ve never been the one to say, ‘OK, I want to talk about this because it was an issue with me.’ But everyone else kind of made it a storyline. And here in Atlanta, there is no storyline."
Howard was asked about what really happened with Orlando.
"I really hate going back with it. There were a lot of different things that happened in Orlando that people never talked about. Before the season even started during the lockout, I asked them privately, I even talked to [teammate] Jameer [Nelson] and [then-general manager] Otis [Smith] and I said, ‘Hey, I just want a change in my life. It has nothing to do with [then-coach] Stan Van Gundy. This has nothing to do with the players here in Orlando. It has nothing to do with Orlando itself.’ I just felt I was too comfortable and I wanted more for myself and more for basketball.
"It had nothing to do with the team. They said they were going to try to move me. I thought it was going to happen. They came in and said, ‘We’re going to trade you.’ They shook my hand and said, ‘God bless you. You were here for eight years and you did a great job.’ They asked me to go shake my teammates’ hands. I went and shook their hands and told them that the team was going to trade me. I woke up the next day and they said, ‘We’re not going to trade you.’
"This was right after the [2011 NBA] lockout. I was supposed to get traded right before training camp. I had asked them to trade me to Brooklyn and I thought that was going to happen. They decided they weren’t going to trade me and that was when all hell broke loose. People said I was doing this in the locker room, doing that. But I’ve never been that kind of guy. I told my agent, ‘Listen, they want me here, so I will just stay here until the end of the season and I’ll make a decision after that. Let’s not fight it. Let’s not go back and forth. Let’s not talk about it.’
"And we did that. But every day in the media it was a different story. I was the type of person where I’m not going to focus on what is being said. I’m going to focus on winning and trying to win for this team while I’m here."