Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and former Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal recently had a public spat over the former’s claim to the Superman mantle (cape?), but Howard’s real nomenclature-based friction actually may be with current Orlando Magic forward Glen Davis.
There won’t really be any friction between those two, of course, because Davis doesn’t want to be known as Big Baby anymore (even though everyone, including him, still wants to call him that). But that’s exactly how Howard’s acting– large, immature, and lacking in foresight.
Back when the league-wide Chris Paul trade operations were in full force, Howard made sure everyone knew he wanted out of Orlando too, and even held in his hand a faintly McCarthyesque list of names of the teams where he would like to go. When he didn’t get moved around the time that Paul finally made it to L.A., Howard pulled back on his trade request, only to slowly walk back to it ever since. Every week, it seems like he adds a new team to his list, an act that garners him headlines for at least a couple days each time. The Lakers and Nets have been on the list since the beginning. Then he added the Clippers, and, most recently, the Bulls, a decision so newsworthy it has been on ESPN.com’s front page for two days:
Most agree that Howard is the best center in the game right now, and the Magic rightly would demand a king’s ransom to part with him. Orlando is willing to pay him, but Howard doesn’t seem to believe he can win there– his trade decision is about winning championships and boosting his personal brand more than it’s about pure dollar figures. Given this reality, many have pointed out that it makes no sense for Howard to demand a trade to a contender, because that team would have to gut its roster to get him, and his new situation would probably end up looking a lot like his current one. Instead, he should play out the year in Orlando and let one of these teams sign him when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Howard must know this, but he keeps talking and keeps his name in the news for little other purpose than that. At this point, I’m just waiting for him to add the Columbus Blue Jackets to his “list.”