Howard decides to stick with Magic

Howard decides to stay


Howard, a three-times defensive player of the year, went back and forth in his decision but ultimately decided to sign a waiver that denied him the chance to terminate his contract after the current campaign.

"One of the biggest reasons is because I am too loyal, I have always believed that loyalty is before anything," Howard said.

"It's been very tough but now we can get back just playing basketball, having some peace and go for a championship."

Howard, 26, who was drafted first overall by Orlando in 2004 and led the team to three consecutive division titles from 2008, requested a trade in December, expressing a desire to explore other options.

If he did not agree to stay with the Magic and the team did not move him by Thursday's trade deadline, they risked losing him for nothing in July when he could have becomes a free agent.

The attention on Howard's future was the most directed at any prospective free agent since two-time NBA most valuable player LeBron James went on national television to announce his much-publicised move to Miami in 2010.

Howard leads the Magic with an average of 21.2 points and a league-high 15.2 rebounds per game.

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