Orlando General Manager Otis Smith sat down with the Orlando Sentinel this weekend, and as far as Dwight Howard’s situation, which rumors had suggested Howard having rescinded his trade request, uh… yeah, status quo:
Sentinel: Has anything changed with Dwight’s situation?
Sentinel: Has he pulled back the trade request?
Sentinel: Has he expanded his list of preferred destinations?
Smith: Not to my knowledge.
Sentinel: Have the Magic granted his agent permission to speak to any team beyond the three teams: the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets?
That’s pretty indicative of how tired of those questions Smith is. And it’s only January. He’s got three more months of this, at least. But anyone who honestly thought things were going to change has not seen the playbook. The way this works is that Howard keeps open the possibility of staying, while weighing his options and seeing how the season goes for his suitors. There will be no decision until the last possible minute,and part of that involves what Smith decides is for the best.
You know what’s not for the best?
Otis Smith getting threats against himself and his family from fans.
You can’t take one of these jobs, mine or Stan’s, and have thin skin. You have to have pretty thick skin. It’s not us; it’s the people around us that’s affected the most. We signed up for it. No one put a gun to our head and told us to take it. It’s our families that are affected the most.
Sentinel: Do you mean not having you at home?
Smith: No, just all the comments. Just because I don’t read it, that doesn’t necessary mean that they don’t or aren’t threatened by it.
Sentinel: When you say “threatened,” you don’t mean physically?
Smith: I’ve gotten those, too.
Sentinel: You have. But not your family?
Smith: No, I’ve gotten those, too.
Sentinel: What do you do in those cases? Do you call the police?
Smith: I just have to be a little extra cautious and let those around me know that the threat is there. But I don’t concern myself with it.
The insanity of fans never ceases to amaze. For whatever mistakes he’s made, he’s been aggressive. You can look around the league any year and find teams who suffer because their GM fails to make any substantive upgrades or attempts at doing so. The Magic went to the Finals, and it was not a superhuman effort by Dwight Howard. It was a cohesive team effort. Smith’s made mistakes, the first and biggest being acquiring Vince Carter as “the piece to put you over the top.” He followed that up by bringing back Turkoglu and bringing in Arenas. But the effort has been there. And beyond all that?
No series of decision making by any GM for any team justifies making threats against a man or his family. Do we really have to go over this? Really?
So that’s today’s news update. Dwight Howard situation is status quo, and people are insane.