Dwight Howard: “I can't make everybody happy”
"I don't have any regrets, you know. I think everything happened the way that it was meant to happen," Dwight Howard said regarding the trade talk that lasted for many months and preceded countless off-and-on negotiations with several NBA teams. "I really just wish some of the lies and some of the things being said didn't come out the way it did, you know.”
The Orlando Magic clung on to Dwight Howard trying to commit him long-term but the disgruntled player appeared to lean towards a trade. Dwight Howard acknowledged he was "stuck in a tough position" regarding satisfying the whims of the general manger and torn over the possibility of parting with Orlando Magic, after they drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2004 drafts. The 26-year-old Dwight Howard stated that his respect and commitment towards the franchise, its fans and the Orlando city kept holding him back.
“And it was a tug of war between my feelings and the fans and everybody else and their feelings,” said Dwight Howard. “That's one of the lessons that I learned, you know.”
Dwight Howard also feared that daunting prospects of ending up in a situation similar to 2012 MVP LeBron James’ move from Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat during 2010 free-agency.
“And I saw him (LeBron James) – everybody hated him for leaving Cleveland and what he did," said Dwight Howard. “I never wanted anybody to hate me, you know.”
“I wanted everybody to love me, you know, like me, for sticking around and doing what they wanted me to do,” Dwight Howard further explained. “And making everybody else happy… (But) I can't make everybody happy."
However, that episode is finally in the past following trade negotiations with four teams, which involved at least 11 players and five protected draft picks until Orlando Magic finally met an agreement with Los Angeles Lakers.
"I have an opportunity to do something great here in L.A,” expressed Dwight Howard, “and I can't look back and think about everything that's behind me."
Although Dwight Howard arrived at Los Angeles Lakers with uncertainty clouding his long-term future with the franchise and committed to rehab following injury, still general manager Mitch Kupchak didn’t appear intensely alarmed by the situation. However, Mitch Kupchak did relay that the Los Angeles Lakers took a gamble on Dwight Howard, but hoped that he would re-sign with the team ahead of free-agency next season after playing beside Steve Nash, Paul Gasol and Kobe Bryant.
“It's the organization, ownership, the city of Los Angeles, our ability to win games,” said Mitch Kupchak, “surrounding Dwight with players that will make it easier for him to play the game and not have to burden a load that's maybe not fair."
Dwight Howard started rehab last week after undergoing back surgery in April, with the Los Angeles Lakers and medical staff keeping a close eye on his progress. The Los Angeles Lakers begin training camp in October, but Dwight Howard is expected to sit out the start and the team’s initial preseason schedule.