The circus around Dwight Howard kicked into high gear Wednesday, the day before the NBA trade deadline.
Multiple national reporters had sources indicating that Howard told his teammates he would opt-in to his contract and stay in Orlando until at least the summer of 2013.
However, it took Howard less than a few hours to walk back his statement, telling the Magic's front office in a conference call that he would not waive his right to be a free agent this summer:
In conference call tonight w/Magic officials before game in S.A., Dwight Howard tells team he's NOT waiving his ETO: es.pn/zj5qAX— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) March 15, 2012
Howard seems to be trapped in a situation where he doesn't want to stay in Orlando but doesn't want leave burned bridges the way LeBron did in Cleveland. But, at a certain point, he's going to have to choose.
This latest PR disaster has to have the Magic's front office worried, which isn't a good sign for the Mavericks, who need Howard to stay in Orlando and enter free agency this summer for Dallas' gamble to pay off.