With all the movings and goings on in free agency, every team has had concerns about their star moving on. The Magic are trying to get ahead of that speeding train by locking up Dwight Howard to a longterm extension. In years past, the only question about stars re-signing was if the team was willing to commit to the max money. But the Miami Heat, even as they struggle through the first ten games, have changed things.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Dwight Howard is “not automatic” to sign an extension this summer. Their sources say he might wait, possibly until he enters free agency, simply based on his desire to win a championship. Howard apparently wants to see whether or not he’ll determine he needs further help than what the Magic have. The Magic’s playoff performance this spring will also impact the situation. The Magic have money coming off the books with Vince Carter, and Rashard Lewis’ contract is at least within sight of ending, even if it’s still unmovable. Jameer Nelson has shown he can be a terrific complimentary player, but no one on the Magic is in the level of what the Heat have, of what Boston or LA has. He doesn’t have that dominant partner to draw attention.
So Howard will wait and see if he needs to seek the possibility of going elsewhere. Losing Howard would of course be devastating, as devastating as losing Shaq was in the previous decade. Of course, if the Heat were to fall flat on their face, that might send the kind of message needed that superstars that handcuff your team can’t get you to the promised land. Either way, it’s another sign that we’ve entered an era where stars not only want the best, they want the best on their terms. They want their championship cake and to eat it with a golden fork.