Howard said he’s been very impressed with the way that the Magic have worked to rebuild their roster in the wake of his defection in August of 2012. Howard shocked the basketball world in March of 2012 when he waived the opt-out clause in his contract and seemingly chose to stay in Orlando. But weeks later, he injured his back, voiced a request to be traded elsewhere and never played for the Magic again.
Howard got his wish of playing for the Lakers, but that move mostly backfired in his face and he picked up stakes again this summer for the Rockets. Still fiercely proud of what he built in Orlando, he said his only remaining beef with the Magic is that they gave away his No. 12 last season to Tobias Harris.
Howard had hoped that his number would someday be retired for all that he helped the Magic accomplish. He isn’t aware that the Magic gave the number to Harris so that the third-year forward could honor former teammate Morgan Childs, a 17-year-old who had died following a battle with leukemia.
``I would say that (the Magic) did some good things. They’ve got a lot of great pieces,’’ Howard opined. ``But I’m still a little upset about the No. 12. I just think despite whatever happened, there were a lot of things that I did and we did as a team. That number is special down there. I was a little upset about that.
``But I think Orlando has an opportunity to be one of the good teams,’’ Howard added. ``They are very young right now, but once those guys learn how to play the game and grow into their games, they will be fine.’’
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