7 Ways Dwight Howard Can Rebuild His Tarnished Image Next Season
While the Orlando Magic have undoubtedly been hit the hardest by the recent events that have transpired in the unfortunate "Dwightmare" saga, the All-NBA center's reputation has also taken a major blow over the last year. Unlike the organization, however, Howard will have the opportunity next season to rebuild his tarnished image.
From accusing the franchise of blackmail to nearly coming to blows with longtime teammate Jameer Nelson, Dwight Howard's time in O-Town is most likely coming to a close. Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic and, most importantly, the fans know a blockbuster trade is in the future.
The real question is: where will this perennial All-Star land?
Howard may be the most dominant force in the entire Association, but has very few suitors due to his unwillingness to commit to any team besides the Brooklyn Nets. This, in turn, has made him one of the faces of prima donna athletes alongside former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens and MLB slugger Alex Rodriguez.
Obviously, Howard does not want to spend the rest of his possible Hall of Fame career surrounded by "haters."
So, how does Dwight Howard return to the goofy center the realm of basketball fell in love with before the debacle? Well, the subsequent slides will deliver a seven-step plan to put Howard back on top of the NBA world.
1. Take to Twitter
Dwight Howard hasn't tweeted since April 20th, nearly three months ago. Ironically, or maybe intentionally, this was the same day news broke that Howard will have to undergo back surgery to repair a herniated disk.
Obviously, Dwight Howard isn't bound by contract to send out a certain number of tweets, but it would be a wise public relations move to starting spreading messages to his three million followers.
This would help the fans remember that Howard truly is a good guy with a witty sense of humor.
At the very least, it would give me something to look at when I'm bored at work.
2. Address the Public
The last time we saw Howard in a press conference setting was after he waived his early-termination option in his contract and said how "excited" he was to continue his career in Orlando.
Obviously, this feeling was short-lived, as a few weeks later reports surfaced detailing how Howard never wanted to stay with the franchise.
Dwight's indecision has been far worse than LeBron James' "Decision." By going public to announce his interest to move on from the city, the public will finally see Howard make his first professional move in this saga.
Hopefully, Howard's appearance in front of the media turns out better than James' one-hour special.
3. Give GM Rob Hennigan a Shot
According to Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, Dwight Howard and recently-acquired GM Rob Hennigan talked Wednesday night after a Brooklyn Nets deal fell through.
The talks weren't successful, as Hennigan asked the All-NBA talent if he would consider staying with the franchise. Howard quickly shut that idea down, saying he still desires a trade out of the city that drafted him first overall in 2004.
Poor move, Dwight. Poor move.
Hennigan, despite being only 30-years-old, knows the ins-and-outs of seeking talent and building a championship-caliber team. He has experience with both the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder as an executive.
4. Excel in Houston
Out of the four most likely destinations for the Orlando Magic big man, the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks are absolutely considered the most appealing spots for their respective reasons.
The Mavericks and Lakers have been playing championship basketball for over a decade and their names are synonymous with success. Both possess Hall of Fame bound players, Dirk Nowitzki for Dallas and Kobe Bryant for Los Angeles, and have a brass willing to win at any cost.
The Nets, on the other hand, are in a new location, Brooklyn, and have a bright future ahead of them. With guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson already on board, Howard could complete a New York "Big Three."
The Rockets are the other team that has shown major interest in adding Howard. The center, though, has denied any interest in playing for the city of Houston, even though it is a sizable market compared to Orlando.
If Howard is traded to the Rockets organization and excels with the franchise, he would prove his critics wrong that he is only searching for a major market to grow his brand.
5. Return to Dominance
With all the allegations, rumors and scandals, the fact that Dwight Howard just had a major surgery on a herniated disk in his back has been tossed aside to the back of our minds.
The fact of the matter is that Dwight Howard may never return to the dominant form he displayed earlier in his career. A center that relies so much on his physicality and athleticism may not be able to recover as easily as a finesse player.
Making a seventh All-Star appearance and earning another NBA Defensive Player of the Year award would make us forget about this year's saga events and, in turn, let us admire the most dominant center of this decade.
6. Compete in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk contest has become the joke of All-Star weekend the past few years.
This season's contest, though, was abysmal, to say the least. The fact that Jeremy Evans won the title with three mediocre dunks is a testament to the fact that superstars need to return to the event.
Since Howard's "Superman" slam, no star, except Blake Griffin, has competed for the award. The fans, media and other teams are calling for household names to join the festivities, but to no avail.
If Dwight Howard decided to make the leap of faith, the fans of the NBA would be greatly appreciative. After all, who wants a rerun of last season's contest?
Win the Championship
Simply put, championships silence critics.
LeBron James doesn't hear any more Skip Bayless rants about his lack of rings.
In the end, Howard needs to find more deep playoff success to fully gain back his reputation. If no postseason runs come to fruition, Howard would receive the tarnished image of a player who caused major drama, but no rings to show for his troubles.
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