The drama surrounding Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been going non-stop the last 24 hours and reached a fever pitch after most of the country had gone to bed. Reversing course -- AGAIN -- Howard says he will stay with the Magic at least through the 2012-13 season.
Things started to twist out of control early Wednesday when the star told his teammates he was "all-in" for this season, with his eyes on a title run. Then came word Howard told Magic management he would waive his early termination option to prevent the team from having to trade him before Thursday's deadline.
Of course it didn't stop there. Howard and his agent, Dan Fegan, said on a conference call with the team that the All-Star would not be waiving his ETO and would become a free agent on July 1.
So the Magic would be forced to ship Howard out, right? Not so fast.
Early Thursday morning, things changed... again.
Howard told RealGM's Jerrod Rudolph he would indeed terminate his ETO and opt-in for at least next season.
"Man, listen, you know my heart, my soul and everything I have is in Orlando," Howard said. "I just can't leave it behind."
In what sounded like he would be moving on from Fegan as his agent, he also made it clear this confusion was due to bad advice.
"I have gotten some bad advice. I apologize for this circus I have caused to the fans of our city. They didn't deserve none of this. I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. I will do whatever I can to make this right and do what I was put in Orlando to do."
Despite his words, nothing is official until Howard -- and his agent, if he is still employed by the center -- signs the ETO. That is the only way the Magic will halt trade talk with teams around the league. Howard said he would sign it early Thursday.
If he does opt-in for next season with the Magic, that will throw a massive wrench into the New Jersey Nets plans for their move to Brooklyn. The long-term future of Howard might still be in question, but he was seen as a the key to keeping free-agent-to-be Deron Williams with the Nets next year.