ORLANDO -- The will he, won't he drama surrounding Dwight Howard has ended, at least for this year, with Howard terminating his opt-out clause in his contract and remaining with the Orlando Magic for another year. When asked what Howard would do now that everything is over at his press conference today, Dwight Howard replied "I'm going to go home and play video games. That's what I'm going to do" Howard is known as a hard-core video gamer and even boasted to us at the recent NBA All-Star Game that he can beat anybody in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as seen below in our interview with Howard.
Howard is so confident in his gaming abilities that he even gave out his Xbox Live Gamertag (WarriorDH12) and issued a challenge for all gamers to come and show him what they got. Howard says he plays video games five hours a night and his "highest amount of kills (on COD: MW3) is 51." He continues on that "I'm just stuck on that Modern Warfare right now. I just can't get enough of it."
The drama surrounding Howard this year centered around the Early Termination Option (ETO) that would allow him to opt-out of the last year of his contract. Howard has gone back and forth even as late as last night as he told teammates yesterday morning that he would stay in Orlando only to say later in the day that he was not getting rid of his ETO. After much negative response to his flip-flop, he flip-flopped again and told Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com that he was going to waive his ETO late last night and followed up by signing the ETO waiver this morning and holding a press conference in Orlando saying he is staying.
The one thing Howard wanted to avoid was becoming a bad guy like LeBron James has became after "The Decision" or Carmelo Anthony last year in his exodus from Denver to the New York Knicks. “It’s been very tough for me the past couple of months to make a decision," Howard said. "I’ve gone back and forth. It’s not as easy as people think. It’s very hard." He continues "I just love this city too much. I love the people here. I love this organization." Howard's indecision has caused a media circus surrounding him and rampant speculation as to what he was going to do. "He is giving up all of his leverage and his free agency in a show of commitment to his team and most importantly the fans of Orlando," Kevin Samples, Howard's manager, said earlier in the day. Howard is set to earn $19.5 million from the Magic next season. He could have potentially made more in endorsement deals if he had moved to a bigger market like New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn, New York).