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Has Dwight Howard lost the battle of public perception?

Dwight HowardOrlando MagicLeBron JamesStan Van GundyOtis SmithPau GasolAlex Martins

Is Dwight Howard approaching LeBron James' villainy status?

His latest proclamation that he wants to remain in Orlando through the season -- but that he doesn't want to sign a long-term deal or even an extension -- isn't sitting well with fans.

Comments on a story written by the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins are turning decidedly anti-Dwight. People seem to be viewing Howard as someone who is trying to have it all ways, and that he is playing team management.

Yes, the Magic could keep him around and make him happy, we think. And then he could just walk. Or the team could trade him within the next day and look like they've given up on him.

The decisions about his future seem as if they are being made not by the basketball people (GM Otis Smith and Coach Stan Van Gundy) but by the business people (CEO Alex Martins and owner Rich DeVos), as is their right.

Should Howard be traded or leave, the Lakers do not appear to be a strong option. The New Jersey Nets seem to be on the top of Howard's list.

So, as this plays out, Howard can only hope to learn from the negative reaction surrounding the way James announced his  decision to go to South Beach.

"I'll take my talents to Brooklyn" just doesn't have the same ring.

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