Orlando Magic GM says Dwight Howard has requested a trade - OrlandoSentinel.com
Originally Posted by Josh RobbinsDwight Howard has told the Orlando Magic that he wants to be traded, Magic General Manager Otis Smith told the Orlando Sentinel Saturday afternoon.
Smith said Howard has made the request twice in separate conversations since Monday.
Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, didn’t immediately return a phone message for comment.
Smith emphasized that the Magic want to keep Howard long-term, and he added that Howard and his camp haven’t told the team that he definitely will not remain with the franchise. Indeed, Smith repeated what Magic officials have said for days: that the team will make every effort to keep the All-NBA First Team center.
“We wouldn’t be who we are if we don’t take a look around all 29 teams and try to make the best deal for the Orlando Magic,” Smith said.
“He can have his list of teams that he would like to go to, and we’ve probably got a few on our list of teams that we would like. But at the end of the day, we want him here and we want him in a Magic uniform for his career. With that said, we’re going to make the best possible deal that we can make if we have to trade him.”
On Friday, Smith gave Howard’s camp permission to have contact with officials from three teams — the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets — and seek a trade.
After the Magic completed their first training-camp practice Friday, Howard was asked what his long-term plans are. He mostly evaded the questions.
Asked if he can see himself staying with the Magic for the entire 2011-12 season, he responded: “As of right now, I’m here. Like I’ve said, that’s the only thing that matters, and that’s it.”
Howard is participating today in the Magic's second training-camp practice, which started at 4 p.m.
Smith said he hasn’t decided for certain that he will trade Howard before the March 15 trade deadline, but keeping Howard past that point has an enormous risk that could set the Magic back for years and would evoke memories of how Shaquille O’Neal left the Magic for the Lakers after the 1995-96 season.
If he remains with the Magic after the deadline, Howard would have no incentive to agree to a sign-and-trade deal, and if he were to depart as an unrestricted free agent, the Magic would be left with no compensation for one of the top players in the sport.
Smith also said he could trade Howard to a team not on Howard’s list. But any team not on Howard’s list would be taking a risk that Howard would not re-sign there long-term; that risk likely will limit the quality of those teams’ offers.