Will Howard stay with Magic?

Magic centre Dwight Howard. (JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters file photo)

Magic centre Dwight Howard. (JESSICA RINALDI/Reuters file photo)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

TORONTO - Only in the NBA are the inmates able to run the asylum, a star-driven system where franchise players call the shots.

In the NBA, once a team loses control by allowing the face of the franchise to dictate matters, it’s game over.

In Toronto, the Raptors took a gamble on Chris Bosh’s future and basically got nothing when Bosh headed for Miami.

Granted, the Raptors were poised for a 50-win season, but they effectively surrendered control, a scenario that played out in Cleveland, where LeBron James would take his talents to South Beach.

The latest saga of gamesmanship pits Dwight Howard against the Orlando Magic, a franchise that once witnessed the exodus of Shaquille O’Neal.

“I’ve been telling (Orlando’s front office) that I want to stay and finish the season,” Howard said following Tuesday’s overtime win over Miami. “I told ’em I feel we’ve got a great opportunity to win and I told ’em that I want to be here and I want to bring a championship here. And I told ’em they’ve got to give me that chance.”

When the Magic gathered in San Antonio on Wednesday to play the Spurs, Howard huddled with his teammates.

One report had Howard informing his teammates that he intends to stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season.

Howard can opt out of his contract this summer, known as an early termination option.


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