Howard denies he wants off the Magic
Magic superstar Dwight Howard said Monday he has no ambition to follow the lead of Shaquille O'Neal by heading to another contender and would rather make his own path in Orlando.
There has been increasing speculation Howard would move to a larger market like Los Angeles, or New York with the Knicks, when he becomes a free agent next year.
But in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, the 6-foot-11 center said he does not want to go anywhere.
"I'm not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else," Howard said, referring to O'Neal's move from the Magic to the Lakers after the 1995-96 season.
"I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando. But I can't do it alone. Not only do I need the right teammates, but I need the city behind me. That's the only way it's going to get done. We can change this small city that we have — this small market that we have — and we can make it a big market."
Howard is contracted to the Magic through to the end of the 2012-13 season but has the option of becoming a free agent in the summer of 2012. He said he has never discussed leaving with the franchise.
"As of right now, I'm a part of the Orlando Magic and I plan to be here," Howard said.
"I never said I was leaving. I never, ever thought about leaving. That's basically where my head is right now. I never said anything to them [the Magic] about what my plans were because that's not what I'm focused on right now."