For most of this lockout-shortened season, the biggest story in the NBA has been “Where will Orlando trade Dwight Howard?” Popular opinion had been that the Magic would not finalize any trade involving Howard until after the All-Star Game passed, as they did not want their franchise player in the game wearing a different jersey. Now, it appears as though it may be a moot point.
The Victory Formation has learned, through sources within the Magic organization, that the team has decided not to trade star center and potential free agent Dwight Howard this year. Instead, the team plans to hold onto Howard, and make a strong push to bring Steve Nash in via trade from Phoenix.
Howard had reportedly given the Magic a list of other NBA teams to which he would welcome a trade, including but not limited to the Lakers, Nets, Mavericks and Bulls. Rumors have swirled of late that the Magic and Lakers were close to finalizing a three-team deal, while other rumors have Howard landing with the Nets. However, TVF’s source has indicated that the Lakers would prefer to focus on addressing other needs – most notably, an upgrade at Point Guard – and the Nets apparently do not have an appealing enough package to tempt the Magic to move their franchise player.
If this is fact the case, expect both the Magic and Lakers to make offers to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash – likely the best PG available on the trade market, unless the Celtics move on from Rajon Rondo – but while the Lakers are trying to build a championship contender for 2012, the Magic are likely trying to do enough to convince Dwight to stay in town with a long-term, max contract.
Under the new CBA, the Magic can offer Howard more than any other team on a long-term contract, because he is currently on their team. But it remains to be seen if the additional millions of dollars will be enough to keep him in the Magic Kingdom for the long run.