Earlier today reports broke that Dwight Howard was willing to return to the Orlando Magic next season and wouldn’t opt out of his contract this summer. That news has since been debunked and he is not willing to waive his opt-out clause. That means the Magic may have to move him before tomorrow’s trade deadline or risk losing him and getting nothing in return.
Howard has said he would like to remain with Orlando for the rest of the season but the reason for that is probably so the New Jersey Nets don’t actually have to weaken their roster by trading anything to get him. This summer Howard looks destined to end up in New Jersey, so the Magic might as well just unload him now.
Howard told Orlando they should “roll the dice” by keeping him for the rest of the year and take the chance that he might re-sign with them this summer. That apparently angered the Magic and they have been pushed closer than ever to actually trading him.
Per our league source, the problem is that Orlando isn’t a big fan of the pieces the Nets are offering in return for the six-time All-Star. That means a third and possibly a fourth team may have to get involved for a deal to take place. There isn’t a whole lot of time left for something like that to go down, since the trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
The Nets are expected to offer Brook Lopez, first-round draft picks and make other assets available to the Magic, but none of those “other assets” really excite Orlando.
The Houston Rockets are also reportedly interested in acquiring Howard as well, even if the center hasn’t committed to inking an extension with them.
As things stand right now, I believe the Magic will attempt to trade Howard before the deadline but they probably won’t be able to get fair value for him. They might as well get what they can while they can.