The Dwight Howard trade saga continues with the Orlando Magic failing to convince the superstar center to stay with the team moving forward after meeting with GM Rob Hennigan in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
After the news broke of Howard sticking to his trade demand, three options were mentioned by the superstar center to Hennigan according to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com:
“An immediate trade to the Lakers, a January trade to the Brooklyn Nets or a clean break at the end of the 2012-13 season. But he was clear that he would not return to the Magic, choosing to leave as a free agent after the season, sources told RealGM.”
Along with giving the Magic these options to consider, Howard also let it be known to the Magic brass that he’d never sign another contract in Orlando ever again. Strong words filled with frustration as Howard is the one person is this mess that wants something to get done as soon as possible.
At this point in time, the Lakers seem to benefit more than any team in the equation in getting a deal done for Howard.
Howard indicating that he’d be open to an immediate trade to the Lakers wasn’t the only promising sign for Los Angeles as he also said he’d be willing to sign with the team after next season via RealGM.com:
“During the meeting, Howard informed Hennigan that he would be willing to re-sign with the Lakers at the end of the 12-13 season if the two teams were able to complete a trade.”
GM Mitch Kupchak and Lakers VP Jim Buss must have started drooling after hearing these statements as it clearly indicates Howard’s desire to play in Los Angeles long-term. Obviously, anything can happen over the course of an NBA season that might jeopardize Howard’s stance on signing long-term, especially in L.A., but Howard seems sold on the prospect of playing under the bright lights in Tinseltown alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
Even though it appears that Howard is ready to move on and begin his career in Los Angeles, the fate of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is in the hands of the Orlando Magic’s front office.
It’s no secret that the Magic have been unsatisfied with every trade proposal sent their way for Howard, but after this meeting they may want to cut their losses and make a deal as soon as possible in order to stop the bleeding in Orlando.
It’ll be interesting to see if Hennigan and company change their stance in the coming days, and are more willing to make a deal with the Lakers. If so, Howard might be following Nash and Antawn Jamison to Los Angeles to complete the championship puzzle for the Lakers.