Mar 13, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) attempts to pass around Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) center Dexter Pittman (45) and power forward Udonis Haslem (40) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Dwight Howard temporarily postponed speculation about his NBA future Thursday when he agreed to waive the Early Termination Option in his contract, ensuring he will remain with the Orlando Magic for at least one more season and keeping him from becoming a free agent until July 1st, 2013. Chris Broussard reported on ESPN's SportsCenter and via tweet that he received a text message from Howard saying he signed the waiver.
Josh Robbins or the Orlando Sentinel is reporting the same:
D12's manager, Kevin Samples, tells @OrlandoSentinel that Dwight has indeed waived his ETO.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) March 15, 2012
The Magic likely would have traded Howard before Thursday's NBA-imposed deadline if he had not waived the ETO. Had he exercised that option, he would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2012, and could have signed elsewhere, leaving Orlando with no compensation.
Howard first indicated to the Magic he would agree to waive his ETO on Wednesday, only to backtrack hours later in a conference call with Magic brass and Dan Fegan, his agent. After the Magic's 122-111 loss to the San Antonio Spurs later that night, Howard granted Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com an exclusive interview, wherein he apologized to Magic fans for the "circus" he created and reaffirmed his stance on waiving the ETO.
"I've always believed loyalty is before anything, and I owe loyalty to [general manager] Otis Smith and [Magic owner Rich DeVos and] the whole DeVos family. I want to try to make this work not just for our family, but for the city," Howard said.