10 NBA players who turned their back on their franchises

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
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8) Dwight Howard

Eight-time NBA all-star Dwight Howard was drafted by the Magic in 2004 and spent the first eight years of his career there. During that time, he made six all-star teams, won four Defensive Player of the Year awards and led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009. Nevertheless, Howard isn't well liked among Magic fans after the drama surrounding his exit.

There were rumors swirling that he would leave the Magic and join the Lakers, like his predecessor Shaq did. Howard also did a poor job of handling those rumors and even tried to get Coach Stan Van Gundy fired, further hurting his reputation. Dwight was eventually dealt to the Lakers in a four-team deal that also involved the Nuggets and 76ers.

The Magic received three firsts for Howard as well as Nikola Vucevic, a haul at the time. They didn't ultimately do much with those picks, though they fleeced the Bulls in the Vucevic trade, helping them get out of a mediocre stretch that lasted from 2012 to 2023 but things are looking up with Paolo Banchero recently making his first all-star team. As for Howard, things didn't work out in Los Angeles the first time around; he lasted just one season there before signing with Houston.

He eventually wore out his welcome and was traded to Atlanta, and he bounced around to Charlotte, Washington, Philadelphia, and L.A. two more times. He was never as good as he was in Orlando but developed into a terrific backup, allowing him to extend his career. Still, it may be a while before he is welcomed back to the Magic.