ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – The soap opera that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has made of his playing career continued over the weekend when he once again requested a trade from the Magic.
If the scenario sounds familiar, that’s because it happened earlier this year at the NBA’s trading deadline. Howard and his people vacillated on whether to go or stay, leaving the team and its fans in the lurch.
Howard would eventually re-sign with the Magic for one more season and then, presumably, hit the free agent market after the upcoming season. That didn’t last and culminated in Howard once again asking to be traded over the weekend.
“As I told Dwight, I said `I don’t know. I have to think about what you’re telling me.’ I want to take some time to process everything,” Magic GM Rob Hennigan said of the meeting. “And the answer is we want to map out what’s in the best interest of our team. And any decision that at decide going forward with will be one that we feel puts our team in a position to be successful and move forward.”
But, Howard is trying everything he can to force the Magic to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets. He’s now threatening other teams that might trade for him that if it’s anyone other than Brooklyn, he’ll not re-sign with that team long-term.
The Magic have reportedly talked to the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams were reportedly interested in Howard last season. The Rockets have a desperation need at center, while Orlando would like to acquire Lakers center Andrew Bynum in a trade.
However, Los Angeles would have to be willing to give up on Bynum and hope they can convince Howard to stay with the Lakers. Los Angeles can keep Bynum and not have to worry about long-term problems at center.
For their part, the Brooklyn Nets are also actively talking to the Atlanta Hawks trying to acquire guard Joe Johnson. Brooklyn would like to team Johnson up with Deron Williams, who’s likely to re-sign with the Nets.
Brooklyn has plenty of salary cap space to burn through right now. The Nets could add Johnson’s roughly $20 million contract this year, plus re-sign Deron Williams to a max contract. But, that would put the team close to the salary cap.
If the Nets then wanted to add Howard’s contract to the mix, it would put them into luxury tax territory, which the Nets billionaire owner may or may not want to get into.
Regardless, in the NBA, the star player eventually gets what he wants. Howard is a star, now it’s up to the Magic to decide how much hardball the team wants to play.