Dwight Watch, Year 2: Magic willing to wait until next summer

Here’s an update for all of you who want to gag upon hearing another Dwight Howard scenario:

Tough luck.

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.



  1. A.J. says

    Now Heisler is just talking silly. Obviously. There is a zero percent chance Dan Fegan will agree to a sign-and-trade next summer. Howard is going to get a five-year max deal, but in a sign-and-trade he’d be limited to four.

  2. Jeff says

    Based on what the reports say the Magic want (clear cap space and picks) and what the Rockets have to offer (cap room, recent draft picks balling it up in summer league, and Toronto’s guaranteed lottery pick), I think the Rockets will get Dwight Howard. In case Dwight Howard cannot be convinced to stay in Houston (which I think is the most likely case), the Rockets can still trade Dwight Howard by the trade deadline. I think the Rockets could either trade him to the Lakers (for Bynum) OR the Nets (for Lopez) at that point. Also, the Lakers/Nets can see how well Bynum/Lopez do the next year with the revamped teams. Win, win, win?

  3. Ricardo Vaz says

    The thing I don’t get is why the Magic would ever want to do the Brooklyn deal that was proposed. Marshon Brooks is still a question mark, Brook Lopez would only aggravate the Magic’s problem of overpaying for average talent, and the draft picks would be very, very late first round. I still think Houston is the best hope for the Magic (or a 3 way with Howard to Lakers and Bynum to Rockets). Could a deal in a framework like this work?

    Houston gets: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson and Glen Davis
    Orlando gets: Kevin Martin, 2 out of Houston’s 4 rookies (White, Montiejunas, Lamb and Jones), P Patterson + combination of scrubs to match salaries (Livingston, Forbes, Harrelson, etc) and a 2013 1st round pick (either Houston’s or the one they got from Toronto, which will be in the lottery…).

    I know Orlando wants as many picks as possible, but they will have their own, which will be a high pick, plus another one in this deal, and I’m sure they can deal JJ Redick’s expiring contract to a playoff team near the trade deadline for another pick. Plus they get salary relief very soon, since Turkoglu and Duhon are only partially guaranteed beyond next season, and that opens tons of cap room to go after guys like Harden. Is it too much for Houston to give away? Maybe… But they still keep some young talent (2 rookies, Parsons, Morris) and have two trumps in their quest to re-sign Dwight long-term: 25 million dollars and Linsanity.

    • Chris Bernucca says

      I think Magic might want Parsons instead of Patterson, but deal you float isn’t bad. Plus they keep Lin and Asik.

      • Ricardo Vaz says

        I also think Parsons may be more useful, but Patterson has a bigger salary, and if the Magic want to get rid of those contracts, they need to take some money back.

  4. Jake says

    The part I don’t get is as I understand it sign-and-trades cannot be done next summer with teams that are more than $4M into luxury tax territory, which I know includes the Lakers and I assume also includes the Nets. Can you explain?

    • Chris Bernucca says

      I think holding onto Howard is a good idea for now but the longer they do so the worse it gets. What you mentioned is just one way it gets worse. For me, I cannot imagine bringing him to training camp. He so clearly doesn’t want to be there and now can claim back pain – which doctors cannot prove or disprove – as an excuse not to play hard or play at all. And his unwillingness to play won’t change his max value at all.


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