Captain Shoulders plans to stay put in Orlando for now, but hasn’t ruled out exploring new planets just yet.

The DWIGHT HOWARD sweepstakes has been suspended…at least temporarily. Orlando’s big centerpiece has decided to sign the opt-in clause to his contract, keeping him in the Magic kingdom at least through the 2012-13 season.

After looking like a wet shipboard tuna the last couple of weeks with his flip-flopping game of “shall I stay or do I jet?”, the Magic’s clown-prince from Krypton got serious for once and decided to remain with the team (at least temporarily), giving GM Otis Smith the very real chance of signing his big man to a long-term deal while biding some time to make significant player upgrades to compliment Howard next season.

“Dwight has chosen loyalty over other business options,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said at the news conference. “We clearly are positioned to compete for an NBA championship this year.”

True that. Orlando definitely has the pieces in place right now to compete for a title. Chemistry, coaching and shot selection are its pitfalls in the playoffs, not particularly personnel. If they can improve on those things, they may have a chance to crash the anticipated Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals match-up this spring.

As far as the near future is concerned, Howard remaining in his Florida metropolis long term will depend on what happens this spring (playoffs) and summer (off-season). At the end of the day, Dwight didn’t want to play the LeBron James villain card with Orlando Magic fans but will likely revisit this ‘leave or stay’ scenario at some point next season. Again, depending on what happens.

The adventures of Superman will continue. Stay tuned.

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