The back and forth games of Dwight Howard have finally come to a close with just a little over two hours before the NBA trade deadline. With pressure mounting on all sides, Howard decided that his best course of action at this time was to commit to the Magic, signing a waiver that takes away his right to opt-out at seasons end.
Though a shock to most, sign of this decision started to present themselves heavily on Wednesday as Howard reportedly met with teammates to express his commitment to the team throughout the remainder of the year. According to sources, Howard was hoping to remain with the team throughout the season and opt-out over the summer, but Orlando's stance was that they were going to trade him if he didn't sign the waiver, prompting the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year to commit to the Magic for one more season.
In an interview with RealGM.com, Howard expressed remorse for how this situation played out and promises to right the wrongs of the past few weeks in the eyes of the organization and of the fans.
"I have gotten some bad advice," Howard said, according to the report. "I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn't deserve none of this. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do."
By signing the waiver, Howard has lost the opportunity of signing a long term contract with the Magic. With the option, he could have opted out and signed a max deal to stay. However, he is eligible for a two or three year extension with Orlando if he wishes to make that type of commitment.
With Howard's signing of the waiver, the New Jersey Nets, the predicted frontrunner for Howard if he was to be traded, was left to salvage what they can on the last day of free agency. Latest rumors have them heavily pursuing a trade that could net them Gerald Wallace.