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Dwight Howard: 'I Just Don't Know What Else I Can Do' In Orlando

In case the NBA lockout had let you forget, Dwight Howard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2012, meaning that the Orlando Magic have less than a year to convince him to sign an extension or new contract. Understandably, Magic fans are terrified. Understandably, big-market fans (Lakers, Nets, Knicks) are licking their chops.

Howard's comments to Scott Raab in the latest issue of Esquire are going to fuel the Hades into those fires.


SR: Do you think that the drive to represent, on an iconic level, will be a factor in your free agency? Do you see yourself in a much larger market?


DH: There's more you can do in a bigger place. I'm stuck in a tough position because I feel like right now, where I'm at, I've done so much. And I just don't know what else I can do. I can't live for everybody else. I don't know what decision I'm gonna make as of right now. It's been crazy. Everybody wants me to come here, come play here, come to our team, do this. It's a great feeling, though, to be wanted.

SR: You're gone. I can feel it.

DH: The toughest part for me is the city - the people. They've got burgers named after me in Orlando, they've got a Web site saying, "Please stay." I love the people in the city. I've literally sat on the bench with a towel on my head crying, because I feel the passion in the stands. I just think about what's going to be best for what I want to accomplish in my life. And I don't want that door to close on me, wherever that door is. I don't want it to close.

That's just brutal. I'm sorry, Orlando.

While the Denver Nuggets arguably came out ahead in trading Carmelo Anthony in a similar situation last year, and while the Utah Jazz did well for themselves in pulling Derrick Favors and the pick that became Enes Kanter, Howard's a different level of superstar. He's an eternal MVP candidate, the best defender of his generation and the most efficient 20-point scorer in the game. The Howard narrative is playing out so similarly to that of the Orlando version of Shaquille O'Neal it is almost sickening.