Less than four months after signing a one-year extension to remain with the Magic, also avoiding free agency this summer, Howard has thrust his name back into the spotlight.
In mid-March, Howard chose to sign a contract keeping him with the team that selected him first overall in the 2004 NBA Draft, citing loyalty as his primary reason to remain with the Magic.
Any sense of remaining loyal to the organization ended as free agency approached.
The overhaul of the front office and coaching change weren’t enough to convince Howard to stay as he met with new general manager Rob Hennigan on Friday to demand a trade to Brooklyn.
Earlier in the year, Howard made the same demand, hoping to land with the Nets and play in the largest market in the country.
Orlando resisted the urge to deal its star 26-year-old
The Nets are in the midst of their own rebuilding process, hoping to retain All-Star point guard Deron Williams and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Williams is expected to meet today with both Brooklyn and the Mavericks.
Howard is clearly the top center in the NBA.
He was named the Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons, been selected as an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference each of the past six years and has led the league in blocks per game twice.
Howard has averaged a double-double in each of his eight seasons in the league, shot above 52 percent every year and has become a consistent scorer, averaging over 20 points four of the past five seasons.
The combination of power and athleticism has made him unstoppable, especially rebounding.
Howard has led the league in defensive rebounds each of the past five seasons and totaled more rebounds than any other player six of the past seven years.
Statistics can’t accurately measure the impact Howard provides on the court.
In 2009, he dragged Orlando to the Finals, outlasting the Celtics in Game 7 during the semifinals, the eliminated Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 40 point effort, on 12-of-16 shooting from the field and 14 rebounds.
Orlando fell to the Lakers in the Finals as it couldn’t find a solution for Kobe Bryant, as he scored 32.4 points per game and was named MVP of the series.
Prior to the lockout shortened season, the Magic has won 50 or more games each of the past four seasons but its lack of talent has led to elimination in the first round of the playoffs for the last two years.
Even without Gilbert Arenas on the team, a point guard the team used its amnesty clause to clear his salary, the Magic have the third highest salary in the league with on All-Star caliber players on the roster other than Howard.
In hopes of joining a more talented team, Howard once again asked to be dealt.
Brooklyn isn’t the only team pursuing Howard.
Houston has been slowly trying to acquire enough talent to add a superstar to its roster.
The Rockets shipped Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The team had three first round picks, most of any team in the opening round, selecting Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.
Orlando doesn’t have to give in to Howard’s demands since he is still under contract and can deal him to any team willing to acquire him without a long-term deal.
The Rockets are willing to take on his contract, even without an extension on his contract, in an effort to convince him to remain in Houston.
While it is still unclear if the Nets, Lakers or Rockets have enough talent, once again it appears Howard has played his final game with the Magic.
At least until he wants to show his loyalty to Orlando, again.