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Dwight Howard rumor storm begins: here is where we stand

Feb 28, 2012, 11:15 AM EDT

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All-Star Weekend is in the rear view mirror, the NBA trade deadline is just more than two weeks away (March 15), so now the focus of the NBA world becomes this:

Where will Dwight Howard be playing March 16?

There are 8 million rumors out there in the naked city right now, here is where things stand as of today:

• The ball is in Magic’s court right now — until they decide they are going to trade (or not trade) Howard everything else is paused. Here is what the Orlando Sentinel reports on that front.

The Magic have said all along that they will speak to Howard at some point before or on March 1 to see what he plans to do when he can become a free agent this summer. The Magic then would assess their situation from there.

What the Magic will hear in that meeting is what they have heard all along from Howard and his representatives — he will not sign an extension in Orlando — reports Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated.

Sources with knowledge of Howard’s thinking say nothing has changed about his outlook. And while his wish-list of teams still includes the Nets, Lakers and Mavs, New Jersey is far and away the leader.

That said, the Magic are clearly undecided. It would not at all be surprising if they look at the trade options that start to flow in and decide to keep Howard anyway and take their chances this summer. This is not a team that wants to rebuild, and that’s an order from ownership.

• Why New Jersey? Because they are going to be Brooklyn soon and they have an elite point guard in Deron Williams, reports Amick.

Though it may pain the purists, it’s not just about basketball for Howard. He wants to take his brand global, to leverage the international influence of Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov while building his brand as Brooklyn’s first star. His wandering eye is enticed not only by the Barclays Center that is set to open next season, but the businesses in the booming area around it that could afford many off-court opportunities.

• What about the Lakers? One of the big rumors All-Star Weekend in Orlando was Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson to Los Angeles for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. That is not happening. First, the Lakers have said multiple times they would not trade both Bynum and Gasol in a deal for Howard (or anyone else). Second, there is this from the Orlando Sentinel.

Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Sentinel the rumor is wrong.

Howard has had conversations with Kobe Bryant but does not have Los Angeles at the top of his list. From Amick at Sports Illustrated:

He wants, as one source said, to “be Kobe Bryant, not be with Kobe Bryant.”

Part of that also stems out of the conversations Howard had with Kobe, one where Kobe reportedly said the Lakers would still be his team and at times Howard could be the third offensive option behind Bryant and Pau Gasol (Kobe has denied that is how the talk went). Whatever happened in that conversation, the Lakers are not Howard’s top choice and Lakers ownership is not happy, Amick reports.

The Buss family that owns the Lakers, in turn, is said to be irked by Bryant’s alleged role in the matter and hopeful that Howard — who they see as the business and basketball draw for the next decade — can still be convinced otherwise. But Howard’s focus, one source close to him insists, was on the Nets regardless of Bryant’s perceived influence.

• What about Dallas? Howard wants to play with Deron Williams, and Williams has made noises he would like to return to his hometown of Dallas and play when he becomes a free agent this summer. From the New York Daily News.

“I always like playing (Dallas),” Williams said. “It’s my favorite arena – one of my favorite arenas to play in – probably my favorite to play in. I just enjoy playing here – enjoy playing in front of my friends, family. It’s always good to get the chance to come and see me play.”

If Howard is coming to New Jersey, Williams likely stays. He has said multiple times he really enjoys living in New York.

But as Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBC’s SportsTalk, watch the Shawn Marion situation — if Dallas can find a taker for his $8 million deal next season, they would have the money to offer max deals to both Howard and Williams to play with Dirk Nowtizki. Don’t put it past Mark Cuban to pull that off.

But that is the summer. Right now, the fate of Dwight Howard really rests with what the Magic decide to do in the next couple of weeks.

  1. gmsalpha - Feb 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    The Magic are morons if they don’t trade Dwight. Anything short of bringing Deron Williams or Steve Nash to Orlando all but assures that Howard will be a goner and except for a large payroll savings, they won’t get anything in return and will have to start over.

    Unfortunately the Magic are nowhere good enough to win a championship and nowhere bad enough to get a Top 3 pick in the draft, so they’ll be mired in mediocrity for the next decade-plus.

    Everyone knows Dwight’s leaving town as an unrestricted FA. He won’t be traded, and when the 2012 season starts, everyone will be laughing at Orlando saying “told you so”.

  2. david0303 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    He says he doesn’t want to play with kobe cuz he wants to be kobe, yet hes always saying he doesnt have any help and is trying to get on a team with another superstar. Nothing makes this guy happy. The one time his team makes a huge 4th quarter comeback with out him getting the ball he complains that he didn’t get the ball enough. I used to love this guy, but nothing makes him happy. He needs to man up and play. Its not like he’s got scrubs around him right now

    • limonadamas - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Couldn’t agree more about Dwight.

      The ORL front office did make a ton of mistakes in the past few years though. The overall quality of the supporting cast (aside from Ryan Anderson) has gone down a ton. No clear direction or vision, it seems.

  3. tomtravis76 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Howard put in his time in Orlando and they couldn’t get it done, now he wants to try something new, he wants to move to a big city. He is making the right move professionally by wanting to go to Brooklyn. That franchise has alot of potential to become really popular on the national stage very quickly with a Williams and Howard combo. His potential earnings increase by just being in NYC.

  4. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    The way Marion is playing there’s not many teams that won’t take him.

  5. kpow55 - Feb 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    If R. Westbrook can’t get his attitude and shot selection in check, Westbrook and Perkins for Howard and Nelson.

    Magic get another All Star but the HAVE to keep Turkey-Glue

  6. acdc363 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    The more D-12 drags this thing out the more tainted his reputation will be in my eyes.

  7. rodge1 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    So is America going to scrutinize Howard for crying while he’s still under contract? Are all the haters going to whine about him for years and post ignorant things about him like the other guy who waited for his contract to expire? Probably not because they’re all hypocrites. I’m talking about YOU.
    Haven’t seen one complaint about what he’s doing to the city and the teammates like the other guy who waited for his contract to expire.

    • raidmagic - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      uhhh they are two completely different situations. Lebron never NEVER voiced his deire to leave town. He never told the owner he was going to leave he let him find out on tv just like everyone else did. At the very least he could have made a phone call and let them know before hand. At least Howard gave the Magic a heads up and gave them the chance to get something in return.

  8. palakerfan - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    I’m tired of Howard’s act. Wants to win but he must be the center of it or it’s no good. Learn to make 75% of your free throws and it might happen Big Fella. Go to Brooklyn and then you and Deron can cry cause there’s no supporting cast around you two.

    At this point, I’d much rather the Lakers focus on getting some bench scoring and a young starting PG than continue to chase the Howard dream.

  9. raven410 - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Yeah I don’t understand the “I want to be Kobe..not with Kobe” comment. Your already the Kobe of your team in Orlando Dwight! I don’t care if Brooklyn gets Williams and Howard..they will still only be the 3rd best team in the east AT BEST. I promise you if Dwight goes to Brooklyn he will never win a championship there…but maybe he’s cool with that.

  10. losangelasbasketball - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    He should come to LA, the style of basketball has always been favorable to dominant centers …. Kareem, Shaq…. The buss family are more savvy than russian foreigners in putting together a contendor which is what dwight wants… Or maybe he doesnt…

  11. bozosforall - Feb 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    “One of the big rumors All-Star Weekend in Orlando was Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson to Los Angeles for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.”

    I’d do that deal right now. All the Lakers would have to do is to find a way to replace Gasol’s rebounding, but Howard might be able to offset that some. The play at the PG spot would definitely be improved with both Nelson and Fisher to share the load.

  12. rodge1 - Feb 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    So if LeBron started complaining years ahead, causing a distraction to the team that would have been better?

  13. rodge1 - Feb 28, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Contract is a contract. You’re telling me that you’ve expressed your desire to leave a company when you were planning to go elsewhere?…. Yeah right.

  14. mrlitl - Feb 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Dwight needs to play out his contract. Nowadays it seems contracts in all sports are inconsequential.

  15. losangelasbasketball - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Kobe wanted a trade at one time, then he got pao gasol… And he stayed…. Mebbe dwight is trying to pull a kobe…

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