Dec 10, 2011, 5:59 PM EDT
There is no doubt now.
Smith said Howard has made the request twice in separate conversations since Monday.
Smith reiterated how he wants to keep Howard long-term with the Magic and have him sign an extension. However, Howard has the hammer — he can opt out this summer and leave as a free agent. The Magic need to trade him to get anything back and start the rebuilding process over again.
This does not mean a trade is imminent — the Magic are going to take their time to get the deal that works best for them. This could still drag out, maybe just for days or maybe all the way to the trade deadline.
If the Nets are going to do the trade with the Magic, they are going to have to get a third team involved. The Nets previous offer of Brook Lopez and two picks will not get the job done.
Howard’s agent Dan Fegan has reportedly been given three teams he can talk to about a trade — the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks.
Smith said that if he has to trade Howard, he is going to do it with the deal that makes the most sense for Orlando going forward, not just where Howard wants. Here is Smith’s quote to the Sentinel.
“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.”