The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT July 14, 2012 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

The Front Row with JASON ELLIOTT July 14, 2012

A lesson to be learned

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Posted: Saturday, July 14, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 10:30 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

Some people will never learn.

And it doesn't matter how much money you make - there's no excuse in sports for not being a team player.

JUST IN case you haven't been paying attention - and it might be a lot easier if you weren't - Orlando center Dwight Howard has turned the offseason into a saga on where he'll play next.

The problem with that is he's under contract with Orlando and agreed in March to remain with the team for another season, when he could have not signed and opted out.

After not being traded earlier this year, Howard attempted to get his coach fired, which happened as soon as their playoff run ended.

Howard injured his back late in the regular season, and didn't join the rest of the Magic in the playoffs after electing to have back surgery in Los Angeles.

That operation was so involved, he had to remain in California for a few weeks before returning to Orlando.

Once Miami beat Oklahoma City, the talks opened up again - this time with Howard claiming that the only team that he wanted to be traded to was Brooklyn (formerly New Jersey).

Not Houston, which seemed really interested in obtaining him, or the Los Angeles Lakers - who just added Steve Nash to its roster.

What could likely happen is that Howard might have to, and this might seem odd in professional sports, play out his contract.

But after telling the team he doesn't want to do that, it doesn't seem that anyone will win this battle.

IN MOST team sports, it isn't about one player.

Although Kevin Durant was a big reason why the Thunder got to the finals, had they filled the roster with a couple more scoring threats like the Heat - maybe they'd be champs right now.

When the Coeur d'Alene Vikings won back-to-back state championships in football - it wasn’t because of just one player, it was a mix of the 11 guys on the field doing whatever they had to do to win.

Whether it was lifting weights to get stronger or attending camps, it took all of them to finish what they started for — a championship.

Howard was able to get the Magic to the finals a few years ago, and still continues to be among the league leaders in scoring and rebounding each season.

But at some point — it has to be about more than just statistics.

He hasn’t won a championship, but believes that he’s got the ability to pick where he wants to play.

And he did that, by re-signing with Orlando in March.

Brooklyn, tired of all the waiting, re-signed Brook Lopez to a four-year deal. One stipulation is that should the team opt to trade him, they won’t be able to until January.

Where does that leave Howard?

Brooklyn said they’re done trying to acquire Howard — and they’re going to move on without him.

Since he’s recovering from back surgery, who knows if he’d even be able to play at the start of the season anyway?

Howard is a great player, but needs to move on with his Magic teammates.

Right now, he just seems like a guy that nobody wants.

Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at

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