Here’s an update for all of you who want to gag upon hearing another Dwight Howard scenario:
A source told Sheridan Hoops that trade talks involving Howard, which the Orlando Magic just put on hold, could go on all summer – of 2013.
The Magic seemed ready to take the best current offer – such as the Brooklyn Nets’ package headed by Brook Lopez – but are now determined to draw out the process in hope of getting better offers.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Tuesday that the Magic has told teams it will not move Howard now. Our source said new GM Rob Hennigan has decided that getting the best deal is the priority. That includes the possibility of bringing back Howard for a second season-long distraction, this time without the illusory hope of keeping him and further alienating their already dismayed fan base.
Unless Howard signs a three-year extension – which his agent, Dan Fegan, has said his client will not do with any team – Howard becomes a free agent on July 1, 2013, regardless of where he is playing. If he is still with the Magic, they could negotiate sign-and-trades next summer.
In recent weeks, however, the Magic seemed intent on shutting down the circus and getting on with basketball.
Magic officials actually wanted to move Howard before the June 28 draft but didn’t have a GM in place, having only begun the selection process after forcing previous GM Otis Smith to resign.
With the newly hired Hennigan donating Most Improved Player Ryan Anderson – an ideal, floor-spacing complement to Howard and his best future building block – to New Orleans for unproven center Gustavo Ayon, the Magic seemed on their way to starting over.
However, talks with the Nets broke off after Brooklyn set a July 11 deadline knowing Lopez, a restricted free agent, was about to sign an offer sheet with one of several suitors.
The deadline surprised Magic officials, who said negotiations were ongoing, then discovered they weren’t. Brooklyn signed Lopez to a four-year, $61 million contract, ending its pursuit of Howard at least until Jan. 15, when Lopez becomes eligible to be traded.
The source told Sheridan Hoops the Magic have been only tangentially involved in recent talks as the Rockets, Lakers and Cavaliers have tried to put together packages.
Houston’s package involves a collection of draft picks and young players. Los Angeles and Cleveland have discussed the framework of a three-way deal in which Howard goes to LA, Andrew Bynum goes to Cleveland and Anderson Varejao and multiple draft picks go to Orlando.
Those talks are now over as well, but more await.
If the Magic hold onto Howard through this summer and allow him to come to training camp in late September, they risk further alienating their fan base.
Orlando has until the mid-February trading deadline to deal Howard. It could resume talks once its season is over, but only with teams whose seasons also have ended.