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Amid the hundreds of rumors surrounding the NBA’s free agency period, none have been more prevalent than the situation involving Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard and his apparent indecision about picking a team to play for. So far we have heard that Howard has called for a trade to Brooklyn and been courted and traded for by Houston all as a result of his claim against the Magic in which Dwight claimed he was blackmailed by management in an effort to retain his services. Teams chasing Dwight have been put back to the drawing board again and again in order to obtain the seemingly eccentric super star.
But early this morning Adrian Wojnarwoski of YahooNBA reported that once again the Los Angeles Lakers were in the hunt for Howard’s signature. The Lakers were prepared to trade for Howard in March this year but Howard’s decision to stay with Orlando quickly put a stop to any dealings involving a trade which would have seen Andrew Bynum traded away from L.A.
“Orlando officials are willing to discuss trades for Howard, and the Lakers have been one of the teams in touch with them over the weekend, sources said.” - Adrian Wojnarowski
This news is bitter sweet for fans on both sides. Should the Lakers acquire Howard their chances of a championship increase dramatically, but there is no guarantee he will stay in Los Angeles. There is every likelihood he will opt out of a long term deal with the Lakers and deny an extension which would see him again become a free agent at the end of next season. If Bynum does indeed go to Orlando for Howard, and he doesn’t sign an extension, this could potentially leave the Lakers stranded and without a center. Orlando on the other hand could lose Dwight, but may very well be sitting pretty with a proven big man in their front court by next season.
The saga continues…..
UPDATE 2.50pm 2/7/2012: Further reports suggest Howard has spoken out and told potential teams that no matter who signs him, he will not sign an extension and will again test free agency at the conclusion of next season. That being said, it does seem as though there is one team on his list that he desperately wants to go to. Howard didn’t specify, but one could speculate that it is the Brooklyn Nets. He had this to say: “There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that.”
We will continue to keep up updated.
UPDATE 8.37AM 3/7/2012: Further to yesterday’s news, Dwight Howard’s implication with the Brooklyn Nets is now as good as gone with the news of the Nets signing 6 time All-Star guard Joe Johnson. Should Deron Williams sign with them also, this leaves no cap space for Howard and effectively puts Brooklyn out of the race for his signature. Should the deal be done, Howard will be forced to either recommit to Orlando, or seek refuge elsewhere.
UPDATE 8.43AM 4/7/2012: In news this morning, the Lakers have reportedly offered the Magic a trade involving Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace in exchange for Dwight Howard. The Lakers have pulled off this type of trade many times in the past but in this case, they are asking for an immediate extension from the Orlando super star in order to guarantee his services for more than one season. Other reports also suggest the Atlanta Hawks are in the race, and that the Brooklyn Nets may not be done talking to the Magic about Howard.
UPDATE 1.19PM 4/7/2012: As mentioned earlier, the Brooklyn Nets have again entered into the race for Dwight. What was once thought to be an impossible task for the Nets after locking up Deron Williams, and committing to Joe Johnson now does not seem as far fetched as previously assumed. The Nets have offered Orlando a trio including Marshon Brooks, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez plus sweeteners in an attempt to accumulate their own “Big 3″ heading into next season. The Nets’ finances will be stretched to impossible lengths if they complete this trade and the luxury tax would have a huge impact on them in the years to come, but clearly they can see a championship on the horizon with this lineup on their roster. The Lakers however are not going away and have made contact with both Phoenix and Atlanta for Steve Nash and Josh Smith respectively in what appears to be an attempt to lure Howard.
UPDATE 3:08PM 6/7/2012: In news this afternoon, the Lakers are supposedly committed to a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard following the already mega deal that has brought Steve Nash to Los Angeles. Sources have stated that the Lakers have informed a player in the organization that he will be dealt to Orlando should the trade go down. Whilst it’s obvious the deal will include Andrew Bynum, several sources have indicated that Pau Gasol is the other piece of the puzzle that will complete it. Also, the inclusion of an extension and a commitment by Howard in the deal has potentially been dropped. L.A. who were adamant that they would not deal with Howard unless he showed his loyalty to the organization from the outset.This is only speculation by various resources for now, but it seems that the Lakers are simply working towards one common goal. Kobe Bryant’s 6th Championship.
UPDATE 10.43AM 9/7/2012: The ball continues to roll and the outcome is still what seems like a mile away, but the saga that is Dwight Howard will not lie down! This morning, the latest reports have suggested that Howard may still end up at the Brooklyn Nets after the franchise turned their attention back to him and are “progressing” in a deal that would see him end up there. After the initial push by the Lakers, Brooklyn are seemingly back in the hot seat after a proposal that would likely see Brook Lopez dealt to the Magic along with sweeteners. The catch is, the Nets would need to offload Kris Humphries in a sign-and-trade to free up room for Howard. Orlando want none of it however and this would mean a third team would have to be involved in the deal. The Cleveland Cavaliers have expressed interest in Humphries, but that is all we know for now. In another twist, current Lakers center Andrew Bynum has reportedly told the Lakers he will not sign an extension following season 2012/13 and will test free agency come next summer. This means that no matter who the Lakers have at center for the season, there is no guarantee they’ll be there after that. The Lakers appear to be treading on thin ice in their search for banner #17, and the Bynum/Howard story just continues to grow. More as it comes.
UPDATE 2.29 9/7/2012: Further to the news about Brooklyn being frontrunners in the race for Howard, it now appears as though they are about a mile ahead of second. Reports over the last 30 minutes have indicated that the Nets, Magic and Cavaliers have been engaged in intense discussion designed to end the Dwightmare and send him to Brooklyn. The intended trade (What we know of it anyway) would involve approximately 11 players not all of which are known at this point. What we do know is that by moving Brook Lopez and his gigantic contract to Orlando plus a host of draft picks and cash, and shifting Kris Humphries to Cleveland, the Nets can lock down Howard. The Lakers took a firm second place this morning following Andrew Bynum’s statement that following 2012/13 he would test free agency and had a short list of potential teams to visit. This evidently scared the Magic being that they weren’t on Bynum’s list and had no guarantee of keeping him beyond next season. The Magic are said to be considering all offers and should make a decision before their summer league team tips off tomorrow morning at 11am (US time) against…… The Nets.
UPDATE 9.44AM 11/7/2012: What appeared to be almost a done deal two days ago, now has almost no traction left at all. Whilst the Brooklyn Nets are still attempting to obtain Howard, other teams involved in the trade have reportedly backed off. The Cavaliers and the Clippers have both backed away from talks with the Nets and the Magic which has put a dent in the Nets hopes of acquiring him. In news this morning, the Lakers are Rockets have again emerged as potential landing spots, and are attempting to work on a three way trade which in short would see Houston trade a host of future picks to Orlando, who would then send Howard to the Lakers via an Andrew Bynum detour which would him head to Houston. Complex, sure but in reality it does work better for a Magic organization that is looking to rebuild than the convoluted, multi player/team deal with the Nets. Can’t wait for this to all be over? Well, the Magic have also expressed their desire to have all trade talk ceased, whether done or not done, by next week. All we can do is hope they’re right. Until next time…
UPDATE 12.28PM 11/7/2012: Like none of us saw this coming… Talks between Houston, Los Angeles and Orlando have come to a halt almost as quickly as they began. This deal was providing Orlando with exactly what they wanted in future draft picks, but the hold up seems to be in both the key players apprehension about signing extensions with the teams they would be traded to. Not only were the Lakers providing Houston with an All-Star center in Bynum, they also offered to take on the bloated, bad contract of Jason Richardson to help the trade process along and make things easier for Orlando. Twice, the Lakers have offered Orlando deals which have been undeniably the best they are going to get. Twice they have been turned down. One has to wonder at what point do L.A. walk away and pursue other options, and on the other end, what more do Orlando expect from teams when all they have to offer is a star who has openly stated his disloyal intentions? Still, there is no mention of this deal breaking down totally and sources to suggest there is a chance it could still progress. This simply sounds like it’s a case of the Magic dragging it out for as long as they possibly can.
UPDATE 4.09PM 11/7/2012: The latest installment of the Dwight Show sees Brooklyn almost completely shutting the door on any potential trade involving Howard. This afternoon the Nets were rumored to be progressing with an extension deal for Brook Lopez at either $58M/4 years or $78M/5 years which would see their only Magic-enticing asset locked up. It seems as though they are tired of waiting for the Magic to decide on what they want to do. In any case, the Magic will benefit from shying away from that deal. Several reports were suggesting that the Houston Rockets were locked in talks with Orlando but not on a 3-team basis, seemingly leaving the Lakers out of the discussions. This doesn’t seem possible however, as Andrew Bynum has listed Houston as a destination where he would go and happily sign an extension. Surely the Rockets wouldn’t pass up that opportunity for one risky year with Howard? While those reports came from legitimate sources, many others stated the Lakers were very much still leading the race. Onward we march….
UPDATE 8.51AM 12/7/2012: Well, we’ve come to a point where none of us thought we would. The Magic have ceased all talks with teams attempting to obtain Dwight Howard. The Nets, Rockets, Lakers and Hawks have all had their cases dismissed by Orlando who have now turned their attention to the coaching role left open by Stan Van Gundy. What seemed like a certainty only days ago now has a shadow of doubt cast across it. In all reality, Dwight Howard could start 2012/13 in Orlando. The Magic insist that talks are simply suspended, although many suggest and have labelled them dead. But as one ESPN analyst put it, “dead” in NBA trade talk terms has about the same meaning as “dead” does in a zombie movie. Only time will tell.
UPDATE 10.08AM 16/7/2012: All seems very quiet on the Dwight Howard front today. In fact since the Lakers and Cavaliers rejoined the circus on Saturday we have barely heard a peep. On Saturday the Rockets were ousted by the Magic as a potential suitor for Dwight and instead the Lakers and Cavs were reengaged in a three team trade that would see Andrew Bynum to Cleveland, Dwight Howard to Los Angeles and several future picks to Orlando + some cash considerations which is what they really want to kick start their rebuilding process. Since that story broke however, we have heard absolutely nothing from anyone. Either the talks have completely died off, of this is just the calm before the storm.
UPDATE 1.24 24/7/2012: Well here we are, a week later with still very little to report. Unfortunately it appears as though the saga may continue for a lot longer than anyone anticipated however with Magic GM Rob Hennigan telling the media that there is every possibility they will decide not to trade Howard at all. We knew there may be a chance he would stay in Orlando but the likely outcome was always that he will be traded. Apparently that is not the case anymore according to the Magic. But, we are no strangers to the free agency period and we know the types of tricks teams are prepared to pull in order to get the best possible outcome. The Lakers and the Rockets have both been actively pursuing the 6-Time All Star, but over the past 7 days talks seem to have diminished drastically and one could speculate that the three teams lost patience with each other. What is probable should Dwight stay in Orlando, is the team’s intention trade him in a matter of months. Start 2012/13 with him, and see what happens in February. In this case, it would appear the unrealistic, hopeless demands from Dwight Howard have been his undoing, and he’ll end up in the one place he wanted to leave. Orlando.
UPDATE 10.38AM 26/7/2012: The Lakers are done with Dwight. Or so it would seem. After Tuesday’s statement from the Magic regarding a meeting with Howard in which they would attempt to keep him, the Lakers apparently saw it as the last straw. They had offered Orlando a lot, but it wasn’t enough. Today Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak announced the organization’s intentions to ramp up talks with current all star center Andrew Bynum and attempt to sign him to a long term deal. Bynum is arguably the second best center in the league and the Lakers should make him their number one priority. This news suggests that the Lakers have moved on, and with good reason. No news yet on the Magic’s talks with Howard, but we’ll continue to keep you up to date.
UPDATE 10.56AM 26/7/2012: Just like that! Another quick update. Dwight Howard and the Magic’s meeting has finished after only an hour in Los Angeles with many reports saying Orlando’s efforts to woo the star have failed. Should the reports be accurate, it means Dwight will almost definitely be traded before next season. If the Magic refuse to trade him, Dwight will leave as a free agent at the end of 2012/13 anyway, and Orlando will end up with no one. Seems fitting considering their apparent distaste at the great offers Houston and the Lakers made them. Don’t be greedy kids, it gets you nowhere.
UPDATE: 12.14 26/7/2012: Quite an eventful morning of news from the Howard camp. As reported earlier by Jarred Rudolph of Real GM, Dwight met with Magic GM Rob Hennigan to discuss moving forward and the Magic had full intention of convincing him to stay. Unfortunately for them, it has been revealed by Rudolph that whilst Dwight was expecting a renewed vision of rebuilding, and a prospective coaching target, neither were brought to the table and Howard has left the meeting ‘frustrated’. So where does this leave Orlando? Well, no place good. They have blown every opportunity to keep Howard, and have thrown potential deals back in the faces of those who have offered them. It now seems as though there are minimal options available to them. Dwight himself has listed them. 1. An immediate trade to the Lakers. 2. A mid-season trade to Brooklyn or 3. Lose him to free agency at the end of the season. Not one beneficial option for the Magic. Unless…. They trade him to the Lakers who could accommodate him and give the Magic some good building blocks with the inclusion of a third team I.E. Houston or Cleveland. After the Lakers reportedly almost shut the door on Orlando earlier, they surely are hoping Kupchak and co. are willing to have another crack. This never ending saga, after seemingly being done, is now back in full swing. Hold on to your hats. Again.
UPDATE: 12.20 8/8/12: Well the charade continues as Dwight Howard’s circus rolls into even more towns with Atlanta being the latest addition to the list of teams that could land the superstar. As reported by Alex Kennedy of ESPN this morning, the Hawks have emerged as a contender after the team was able to clear more than $17 Million worth of cap room during free agency, which in turn gives them enough space to wave a max offer in front of Howard’s face. Not only this, Dwight grew up in Atlanta so there is the opportunity to return home and even better? Two of his best mates, Josh Smith and Anthony Morrow, are also securely embedded in the Hawks roster. Seems like a sweet deal, but does it have any grounds in Dwight’s head? The past two weeks have been spent in L.A. whilst recovering from back surgery, coupled with attending Dodgers games and getting to know the city and it’s people. Several Lakers fans have met him and hinted to the fact that Dwight is intent on pulling on a purple and gold jersey. Of course, that’s hearsay at this point in time and holds no credibility. Orlando’s relationship with him weakened further over the weekend as Dwight refused to return to attend Camp Magic where he was due to appear and spend time with his younger fans. Not a good move when trying to display yourself as a role model and good guy. Unfortunately, the reputation he’s building for himself isn’t a good one, and we are still no closer to seeing the end of it.
UPDATE 8.33AM 10/8/12: News this morning reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that the Dwight talks have heated up again this week, with a proposed 4-team trade the subject of discussion which would see Howard delivered to the Lakers. The trade would see the Denver Nuggets send out Al Harrington to the Lakers and Aaron Afflalo to the Magic, whilst they would receive Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia, who would get Andrew Bynum from the Lakers. The Magic would then take Pau Gasol from the Lakers to round out the trade. This trade is reportedly not close, however trade talks are listed as ‘serious’. Sources have also indicated that the Nuggets and Sixers are ready to pull the trigger but the Lakers and Magic are exploring every option before they close. If indeed the Lakers are prepared to give up Bynum AND Gasol for Howard, and the Magic are able to gain the necessary pieces to rebuild, this deal is likely a winner for all teams involved. As stated, nothing is imminent, but hopefully the talks are real and we can finally put this to bed.
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