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Dwight Howard, Alex Martins Praise The Magic For Playing Through The Distraction

Orlando Magic team president Alex Martins shared his thoughts on the Dwight Howard saga and Howard's decision to sign a waiver to stay with the team through next season. Martins sounded a particularly enthusiastic tone at the Thursday press conference, citing Howard's decision as a chance for the Magic to compete for an NBA title this year.

Over the course of past eight years, Dwight has grown with the organization, and this organization has grown with Dwight. We're in a better position today than ever before to win a championship.

Martins went on to commend the entire team for continuing to play competitive basketball in light of all the drama.

It's incredibly commendable what this team has done with questions hanging around organization in the past year, to have fourth-best record in NBA. [Orlando is] clearly in position to compete for an NBA championship this year. Hats off to everyone in that locker room for their professionalism, for how they've competed and put their heart out on the floor every single night.

Howard echoed Matins and offered a thanks to everyone for putting up with the back-and-forth.

It's been very tough past couple months to make a decision ... It's very hard. We're talking about a career-changing event. Going back and forth, one of the biggest reasons is to be loyal. I've always believed loyalty is before anything, and I owe loyalty to Otis Smith and the whole DeVos family. I want to try to make this work not just for our family, but for the city.

For more on the Orlando Magic and potential trades at the NBA deadline, visit SB Nation’s Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post.

For all your NBA trade deadline news, be sure to check in with SB Nation’s NBA news hub.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.