According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Orlando Magic are closer to trading Dwight Howard since D12 has not given a commitment to the franchise, as well as his own lip service saying that he wants to stay with the Magic for the rest of the season:
Dwight Howard's public plea late Tuesday to remain in Orlando for the rest of the season has only served to anger the Magic and has instead pushed them closer than ever to trading their superstar center, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
After yesterday's report of Howard basically already choosing the Nets and "playing" the Magic to keep him for the season so that the Nets don't gut the team in a trade for him, it's no wonder the Magic are seemingly starting to change their minds. And, of course, they're blaming the agent:
The tension between the two sides has grown. According to sources, the Magic are incensed with Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, whom they believe has manipulated Howard and is the driving force behind his push to leave the franchise.
This is may be true, but this shouldn't all be coming to a head now. A deal was done between Magic GM Otis Smith and Billy King, but Magic ownership nixed it. And ever since then, Howard has never rescinded a trade request he made a few months ago. It's honestly sad that it has come to this and is a shining example of how the NBA is a business that can be cutthroat at times. Sure, we like the dunks, the last second buzzer-beaters, Kevin Durant, and all that good stuff, but at the end of the day, it's going to be about money. And not just from what a franchise can pay you in salary either, especially in this case.
According to ESPN Insider/Broussard, the Nets are open to trading for Dwight Howard now, business as usual and no low-balling:
While the Nets would love to get Dwight Howard as a free agent, thus enabling them to keep Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and all their other assets to build around Howard and Deron Williams, their preference is to get him before the trade deadline; just because you never know what can happen in free agency.
It's definitely the safe move for the Nets and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm sure many Nets fans and those in the front office are feeling particularly tense about all of this and some relief would be welcome. To that end, the Nets are looking to bring in some other teams to make any Dwight Howard trade happen:
They'd rather trade for Howard this week and have the security of knowing he's a Net, even if it means losing some of their good young pieces and draft picks. To that end, the Nets are seeking a third team to sweeten their offer to Orlando. Orlando is believed to be trying to create a bidding war between the Nets and the Lakers for Howard. New Jersey is talking with Charlotte about a deal that would enable it to obtain Boris Diaw and his $9 million expiring contract to clear a bit more cap room for the summer.
So, with the Magic's eyes becoming more clear, so is the possibility of Dwight Howard being moved before tomorrow's trade deadline at 3PM ET, a mere 24 hours from now. The question is, to whom? Will the Magic pawn off the problem of D12 opting for free agency in July to a team like the Houston Rockets who are willing to take their chances? Will the Los Angeles Lakers be okay with trading Andrew Bynum (and possibly Pau Gasol)? Or will the Magic trade with the team that Howard wants? Something big is happening and it's going to happen soon. Hang tight!
Just for fun, I'm linking something I wrote over a year ago about trading Brook Lopez for Dwight Howard.