Goofs on the Loose

April 8, 2012


In honor of the new Three Stooges film coming out, I think it’s fair to refer to the Orlando Magic saga by the most fitting of Stooges shorts titles: Goofs on the Loose.

What a ridiculous turn of events in Orlando.  From Dwight Howard’s op-IN to attempts to get Stan Van Gundy fired, this whole situation reeks of lunacy.

All of these shenanigans began in the summer, when Dwight seemingly made overtures to be traded to a select few teams, who were mostly coveting Chris Paul at that point.  Of course, we know how that one turned out (Hint: He’s still there).

Still, for a guy who has spent his whole career being a pretty good team player, it was an odd about-face.  Howard had seemed content in Orlando for a long time and was the cornerstone of the franchise.  Most fans were content to sit on there hands and look the other way on the day when his contract would expire because “Dwight’s such a great guy.”

Dwight Howard: Superman

Now the dude wants out?  Right after the lockout just ended?  People were confused.  Teams in big markets, such as Los Angeles and New Jersey were salivating at the prospect of getting a top level, marketable big man.

So over the next few months, the trade rumors, propagated mostly by major networks like the big 4-letter one, had him going everywhere and anywhere.  But there was one issue.

The Orlando Magic are still a business.  They’re still trying to field a winning team and frankly weren’t interested in selling the next couple of seasons to appease a talented big who still was under contract with them.  And that’s ultimately the ONLY motivation for Orlando to move this guy early.  If you’re going to give up a top-level center, you’d better get a somewhat fair price for this guy.

But of course the talk continued, and it did so at ridiculous levels.  And as the deadline loomed, it seemed pretty apparent to anybody who was actually paying attention that Dwight wasn’t going anywhere.  Nobody was going to be able to meet the asking price and the Magic weren’t motivated sellers for a cornerstone player.

Dwight Howard has been the best thing to happen to Orlando since Shaq

So they picked the WORST option on the table.  The put an opt-in on the table for him and, out of the goodness of his heart, he signed it.  Magic management was getting sick and tired of his waffling and they told him to either get out or stay put.  An SB Nation report says that the Magic told him that he was either a Laker at the end of the day or he was stuck in Orlando until his contract ran dry.

But nooooo, Dwight didn’t want to be a Laker.  They were only the 3rd or 4th option on his list, so he poo-pooed at that and signed the deal.

Little did they seem to realize that even though he’s been locked in for another season, they’re going to have to deal with all of this gobbledygook again next season!

So Dwight sticks around, and apparently all is well.  Except it isn’t.  He’s been trying to get Stan Van fired.  Of course.  A guy who can’t get his way by getting traded is going to try and turn his old home into his new one, and if that means setting fire to the whole thing and starting over, so be it.  Even if he’ll be gone in a little over a year.

So Stan Van tells the media that he knows Dwight is trying to get him fired.  Minutes later, when asked the same questions, Dwight calls the rumors stupid and confusing.  Then Magic management says that it’s all conjecture and falsities…

Doesn’t this sound like a bad Stooges plot?  One with Joe, instead of Shemp or Curly?

The coach states that the player is trying to get him fired.  Then management denies it and tries to cover the player’s butt?  They tell him to quit dawdling, yet make him sign an opt-in to a contract clause that THEY agreed to?

Folks, that’s what happens in a contract negotiation.  You put terms on the table, and both sides agree to it and sign the dotted line.  If the Magic had a huge problem with a star player having an opt-out clause, then they shouldn’t have agreed to it.  Dwight is not a good guy in this.  Neither are the guys and gals running that team.

For all of Dwight Howard’s issues in this sad, tumultuous saga, it’s just as much management’s fault for allowing this travesty to continue.

For allowing an employee of their organization to walk all over them, I condemn them as much as I do Howard.  For the record, I condemn Howard quite a bit for this.

If he’s really interested in being traded, then he needs to make his intentions clear from the beginning.  By dawdling and trying to appease the local fans and get them to buy into the total farce that he still cares about them, he has wrecked his own reputation and that of the entire Magic franchise.

This whole situation reeks of indecisiveness and fear.  Fear of public reaction.  Fear of making the wrong move.  Fear of moving on.  Fear of not being included.  For Dwight Howard, he feels that he needs to follow in the paths of the NBA’s other big stars and move to a major market.

Maybe he can join the New York Knicks?  During pre-game warmups, a Moe Howard impersonator can come out and slap them all every night.  It’s not like it would be any more ridiculous than what’s happening in Orlando for another year.

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About mattpocket

I am the Sports Director at 88.3 FM WXOU Radio, out of Oakland University. I am the play-by-play voice of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. I've been to two NCAA Tournaments, been heard on ESPN, and won 9 Michigan Association of Broadcasters Awards. Follow me on Twitter. @cornerpocket422 You can tune in to The Corner Pocket every Friday from 3-5 pm with my cohost Bryan and Everson and myself, featuring the best guests, such as Dave Birkett, Jim Nill, and Bruce Buffer.

View all posts by mattpocket


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