It wasn't quite the Decision, but Dwight Howard's five-month flirtation with exiting Orlando was nonetheless filled with flipping and flopping, culminating in a shocking change of heart last Thursday when the Magic center decided—poof!—to void an exit clause in his contract, keeping him in pinstripes through 2012--13. How bad was the "back and forth" that Howard acknowledged while saying, "I'm glad that this is finally over"? SI charted the wavering and whispers.
Howard tells Esquire, "There's more you can do in a bigger [market]."
March 26, 2012
Lockout ends. Trading floor opens two days later.
Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide resigns; reports say he phoned Howard days earlier, following a few glasses of wine, and pleaded for the center to stay.
Howard's agent says he has permission to talk trade with Mavs, Lakers, Nets. Howard requests move to N.J. a day later.
Three-team deal reported: Howard to N.J.; Portland's Gerald Wallace and N.J.'s Brook Lopez to Orlando. Magic takes Howard off trading block later that day.
Lopez (above) suffers stress fracture in foot, complicating any future Nets deal.
Rapper Jermaine Dupri (right) tweets: "Howard to the Nets ... in the next 48 hours."
Hoping to entice Howard to stay, Magic seeks trade for Steve Nash (Phoenix) or Monta Ellis (Golden State).
Howard tells Orlando he'll waive early contract termination option. Magic asks him to sleep on it. He does, signs.
Magic G.M. Otis Smith says "everybody in the league" has called about Howard.
ESPN mobile refers in Miami-Orlando box score to "Howard's home finale"; NBA.com briefly sells Howard Nets T-shirts.
Magic back in market; inquires about Howard for Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire (left), Tyson Chandler.
Howard tells teammates he's "all in"; later clarifies he meant only for the rest of 2012 season.