“The situation we are in right now is All-Star Weekend. That’s the only thing that matters right now. This is for the fans and we’re going to enjoy ourselves.”
“All that stuff can go on after the All-Star break.”
That is pretty much what you knew Dwight Howard was going to say when asked about where he will be playing in a few weeks and if this weekend was bittersweet. The trade rumor storm is on the horizon — you can see the clouds gathering on the outskirts of Orlando. Howard is just trying to hold them off until after the All-Star Game as best he can.
He went out of his way to praise Orlando and its fans, to speak glowingly of his time here while offering no hints as to his future.
“We’ve made it to the finals, we’ve had great years,” Howard said.
It’s the same tact David Stern took the day before.
“I’m not going to allow this line of questioning to ruin the fact that Orlando is a spectacular city, having a wonderful All-Star Weekend,” Stern said. “So I don’t want to feed into a heightened sense of deprivation because Orlando is anything but deprived.”
Howard wasn’t talking about it, but some other players were having fun at his expense.
Carmelo Anthony was seated at the table next to Howard, he walked around the massive scrum of reporters and yelled, “Thank you Dwight. Your turn, Dwight. You’re turn.”
On the other side of the room, Andre Iguodala joked when it was suggested Kobe Bryant wants to play with him:
“I think Kobe wants to play with Dwight now. I’ll announce my intentions, I’d like to play with Dwight, too,” Iguodala said laughing. (It’s a joke Sixers fans. A joke.)
But the clouds are gathering. In a few days the future of Dwight Howard in Orlando will not be a laughing matter to Magic fans or front office folk.