Dwight Howard told teammates he was going to be traded at the beginning of last season, former Magic teammate J.J. Redick told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.
With the Lakers clinging to the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoffs, they head to Orlando for the first time since acquiring Howard in the offseason. Buried in Shelburne's nice read about Howard's rough transition -- as a person and a basketball player -- from Orlando to the bright lights and harsh media criticism of L.A. is a tidbit from Redick.
"I don't think it's a secret that he told all of us that he was getting traded before the season started. He told us in the locker room, 'Hey, I'm getting traded to New Jersey,'" former Magic guard J.J. Redick told me recently.
New Jersey didn't end up happening, obviously, but Howard eventually did talk his way into getting dealt.
Nearly a full season into Howard's Lakers career, the wounds of his departure from Orlando -- the Dwightmare, as it was termed -- are still fresh. The best thing to happen to the Magic as a franchise since they got Shaquille O'Neal, Howard flaked back and forth about whether he wanted to continue his career in Orlando towards the end of last season, first waiving his early termination option at the trade deadline, giving the Magic reason to believe he might remain with them past the offseason, and causing them not to trade him then. Then, after a season that ended with a shoulder injury, he forced his way into a trade -- one that worked out reasonably well for Orlando -- making it seem as if he'd been somewhat dishonest with the team and fanbase about his future. Now, we find out in more concrete details what many had speculated - that Howard had been openly interested in leaving Orlando well before he was eventually dealt to Los Angeles.
It's been a bit of a rough week for Howard's relationship with his old team. First, he said that some of his old teammates on Orlando were "players nobody wanted." Teammates such as Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Redick chimed in, biting back at the centerpiece of a 2009 NBA Finals team. Monday, he apologized about his behavior towards the end of last year.