Report: Dwight Howard Will Sign ETO Waiver Thursday, Likely to Remain with Magic

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIMarch 15, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic smiles during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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It looks like all the Dwight Howard trade rumors can be put to rest with a late report that the indecisive Orlando Magic center has decided to stay with the team for the 2012-13 season.

According to RealGM.com's Jarrod Rudolph, he spoke with the star center who told him that he will be choosing to opt-in tomorrow versus looking to make a trade at the deadline.

In an exclusive interview Dwight Howard has confirmed to me that he will in opt-in and stay in Orlando for at least another year.

— Jarrod N Rudolph (@MisterRudolph) March 15, 2012

If Howard signs his ETO waiver with the Magic, all the rampant speculation that has been going on since the NBA season tipped off will likely come to an abrupt halt.

HOOPSWORLDs' Alex Kennedy also reports that Howard will decide to opt-in, but also makes note that he may also move on from his agent Dan Fegan.

Source close to Dwight Howard says the center plans to sign ETO waiver on Thursday morning. It also sounds like Howard may fire Dan Fegan.

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 15, 2012

Not many expected the big man to stay in Orlando, as most figured he was looking to join another market where he could possibly expand his brand while pursuing an NBA title.

Perhaps the potential dismissal of Fegan tells more about the situation, as he may have not been able to find a way to get Howard out of Orlando with the time ticking on the trade deadline clock.

With Howard staying with the Magic, he will continue to be the main man on the team, versus joining a team like the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers or Chicago Bulls where he would have had to play second fiddle to their star players.

While it will remain to be seen if that was a deciding factor for Howard, it is still no secret what kind of debacle he has put his team through thus far this season.

The Magic currently stand at third in the Eastern Conference, and with the Howard situation behind them, they now could have a clear mindset going into the NBA playoffs.

This season, Howard is averaging 21.2 points per game, while also bringing in 15.2 rebounds per night. The big man is having yet another stellar season, and the Magic should be happy to know that he will be there for the rest of this year, as well as the next.

Of course, this situation won't be over until Howard signs on the dotted line, but for now things are looking positive for all Magic fans that have been fretting up until the deadline passed.

 

Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.