It’s looking more and more likely that Dwight Howard will not remain with the Orlando Magic after the trade deadline. His comments following last night’s win against the Heat that he hopes the team “rolls the dice” and does not trade him has not sat well with management or fans in the City Beautiful. Especially when he remained non-committal about signing an extension and hopes to make a run with his current teammates in the playoffs.
In that scenario, Howard gets exactly what he wants: to play out the season in Orlando and then join the Nets in free agency without them having ti gut their roster to get him. That’s a win-win for Howard and New Jersey but a worse case scenario for the Magic who still have nightmares from when Shaquille O’Neal left the franchise for the bright lights of LA over a decade ago.
While Magic ownership does not want to trade the all-star center, it’s becoming apparent that he has worn out his welcome — especially with coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith — and Howard is on his way out sooner rather than later.
According to Sam Amick of SI.com, the Lakers and Knicks have been talking with the Magic over the past few days about a possible deal. New York seems to be just testing the waters but LA could be the more interesting partner. Any deal with the Lakers would have to include Andrew Bynum who is having a career year and is arguably the second best center in the league. However, Orlando may want both Bynum and Pau Gasol in a potential Howard deal and dump a bad contract out too.
Plus, Howard has reportedly told friends that does not want to play for the Lakers but anything could change once he got on the west coast, especially if he enjoyed the lifestyle and winning alongside Kobe Bryant.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are still interested in made a deal for Howard even on a rental situation and hoping they could convince him to stay beyond this season.
And, of course, there is the Nets who look to be the favorites to get Howard. They may have to make a deal now to insure they get him rather than taking a chance he will join them this summer.