The Orlando Magic are in Los Angeles discussing Dwight Howard and his future. They just are not talking with the Lakers.
Magic general manager Rob Hennigan and his staff were in Los Angeles on Wednesday speaking with Dwight Howard face to face according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. The hope, Kennedy reports, is to present their vision for the Magic and, perhaps, persuade Howard to consider Orlando as a viable long-term option. This tweet was from about 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday:
The meeting apparently did not turn out fantastic for Orlando. Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM reports Howard informed Hennigan and the Magic that he does not want to stay in Orlando and he would leave in free agency if the team does not trade him beforehand. At least he has finally made a decision:
This is very much the same tactic Orlando tried so desperately to do throughout the 2012 season. This script appears to have a similar ending. This is a new regime though and they wanted their opportunity to sell their vision to Howard. It did not work.
Orlando put the Dwight Howard trade talks on hold to finish up its coaching search. That appears to be entering its final stage with Spurs assistant coach Jacque Vaughn the presumed favorite and Suns director of player development Lindsey Hunter and 76ers associate head coach Michael Curry possibly also in the mix.
The Dwight Howard trade talks have paralyzed the Magic’s summer. The only moves they have made is re-signing Jameer Nelson and acquiring Gustavo Ayon. If there were hopes of improving this team, they quite clearly rest on trading Dwight Howard. Otherwise, the Magic will return virtually the same team that was sixth in the Eastern Conference last year.
But Orlando’s hard stance on Dwight Howard does have some purpose.
Hennigan has long said he will make a deal that is best for the franchise. He is not going to give into Howard’s will if it means taking a bad deal. That is one of the reasons the Nets deal fell apart — the Magic did not want to commit to Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries long term — and it is one of the reasons the rumored deal with the Lakers deal never quite materialized (apparently the Magic were only tangentially involved).
What really may be going on is Hennigan informing Howard that he will be starting the year in Orlando and the team may not be able to honor his trade request until December or January. Several reports are indicating that the Magic are opening up to the idea — or perhaps coming to the realization — that the Dwight-mare will not be over before the season begins. If not before the end of next season.
Reports are that the Magic are considering taking Howard into next offseason. Rudolph reports Hennigan is in no rush to make a trade unless it offers an “acceptable compensation.” That kind of patience has frustrated fans around the league and this saga does not seem close to ending. In the end, it might be what is best for Orlando if that acceptable compensation is not found.
It is Hennigan’s move now.