It is starting to get very ugly and desperate for the Orlando Magic in the soon to be un-Magical Kingdom, as Dwight Howard and the Magic are headed for possibly one of the most bitter divorces in sports history.
Mickey Mouse is not smiling and Goofy refuses to be goofy anymore while their All-World center, Howard, is not only pushing his way out of Orlando by demanding a trade, but choosing rather to leave the Magic under the worst circumstances possible: without compensation and through free agency.
Somewhere, New Jersey Nets Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Nets general manager Billy King, Deron Williams, Jay Z, the Nets fanbase in New Jersey and the Nets' future fanbase of Brooklyn could not help but sit back and smile.
Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, at 86 years old, is apparently losing his mind, willing to give Howard more power than any other NBA player had in its history in a last-ditch effort to stop the breakup.
According to an ESPN report earlier today:
One source close to the situation told Bucher that the Magic have promised Howard that they will add a quality player before Thursday's deadline and that Howard can decide the fate of both general manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy at the end of the season if he signs an extension. Milwaukee Bucks swingman Stephen Jackson, frustrated in Milwaukee, is available and sources say he and Howard have talked about playing together.
Magic CEO Alex Martins and Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, both disputed reports.
Later in the day, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that since Howard already has his mind set on going to the Brooklyn Nets, he has been leading the Magic on with false hopes that he would stay in order for them to hold onto him past the trade deadline so that the Nets would not have to surrender any assets in a possible trade.
Wojnarowski wrote, ''With the combination of Howard’s disdain for confrontation, desire to be liked and a pragmatic belief that a trade is no longer in his best long-term interests, Howard has created an illusion with the Magic that there are factors that could cause him to sign an extension with the team.’’
While some of the casual NBA fans may look at the Nets' 14-29 record and laugh them off, wondering what possible reason Howard would have to go to a team that has failed to even finish .500 the last four seasons while having the worst record in the league just two seasons ago, there are many. And here they are.
The Nets have one of the richest owners in all of sports in multi-billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. He is also willing to spend.
They are moving to Brooklyn next season into the Barclays Center, a $1 billion arena that is supposed to rival any arena in sports.
They have the cap space to team up Howard with one of the best point guards in the league in Deron Williams.
They are going to have one of the top picks in this year's stacked draft.
They are headed for a bigger market in Brooklyn that has a population of 2.5 million people, some of which who have been waiting for a professional sports franchise to call their own since the Brooklyn Dodgers left.
Not only can the Nets offer the pairing of Deron Williams, but they also have promising young center in Brook Lopez who can either play beside Howard or be another asset to headline a trade for a star player. They also have rookie MarShon Brooks, who has proved to be one of the best rookies in the league, as he is second among rookies in scoring.
While most Magic fans are calling for Howard's head on a platter while they are getting their lighters ready to burn their No. 12 jerseys and anything Dwight-related memorabilia, all Howard is basically doing is exercising his right as a free agent.
And in today's NBA's world, he is, by all intensive purposes, a free agent. As is any player who is in his final year before their contract expires. Howard is just choosing where he ultimately wants to be.
It is ridiculous to make any player stay with the team who drafted him. The Orlando Magic got lucky with the draft lottery system to select Howard with the No. 1 overall pick in 2004.
During his seven years in with the Magic, Howard generated the millions of dollars for the franchise as well as the Orlando economy. He also has been a five-time All-Star, the first NBA player in history to win the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award in three consecutive seasons while also leading the Magic to only their second Finals appearance in team history.
Howard's resume suggests that he deserves his free agency.