On Monday, a report surfaced that Magic Center Dwight Howard told Magic Owner Rich DeVos he would never play for Van Gundy again after Van Gundy confirmed to the media Howard has asked the Magic to fire their head coach. On Thursday, it came out that Howard supposedly called DeVos during Orlando’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday to inform him of the news.
Early Thursday afternoon, Real GM’s Jarrod Rudolph, who is very close with Howard, tried to clear things up via twitter:
Dwight Howard is injured; you can’t fake a herniated disc. I’m ignoring these stories about Dwight quitting on SVG and the team.
— Jarrod N Rudolph (@JRudolphSports) April 19, 2012
Christian Bruey, who also had the Howard/ETO story doesn’t buy the report either:
ESPN report showing conflicting info w/ WKMG report. Surprised? Dwight’s people have told us it’s not true & players I spoke w/ doubting it.
— Christian Bruey (@cbruey) April 19, 2012
Anyone accusing Howard of quitting on his team must not have seen his performance in Philadelphia against the 76ers on April 7. Howard, playing in obvious pain, had 20 points and 22 rebounds in 44 minutes while leading the Magic to victory. Remember, that game was two days after Van Gundy spoke to the media about Howard requesting his firing.
It’s easy to see why Howard has been vilified – he has made a mess of this situation, he’s handled it about as poorly as possible and certainly wronged his coach, but to call him a quitter seems just isn’t an accurate statement.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)