Mar 14, 2012, 2:06 PM EDT
Maybe Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos is realizing what everyone else has understood for a while — that no matter what he said, Dwight Howard was out of there this summer. And the Magic don’t want to come up empty handed when that happens.
Orlando wants Howard to, at the very least, opt in for next season (if not sign a multi-year extension), or the team has decided will trade him, reports Chris Broussard at ESPN.com.
Convinced that Howard, on the advice of his agent, is trying to manipulate the situation, the Magic are telling teams they will trade Howard before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline if he does not commit to them beyond this season, league sources said.
“Dwight’s dreaming if he thinks Orlando won’t trade him without a commitment,” a source said. “He needs to make some small commitment to them. They’re saying it can’t be one way….”
Upset and ready to move Howard unless he changes his stance, the Magic have essentially told other teams — most notably the Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers — to let the bidding begin.
It’s one thing to hear it from sources, but until I hear it reliably from DeVos and people around him I don’t totally believe it. He is the guy making the call, not sources, and he’s been hesitant. GM Otis Smith has never stopped looking at deals, but DeVos has been hesitant and ultimately it is his call.
Howard asked the Magic to “roll the dice” with him because he wants to finish the season with a Magic team that beat the Heat on Tuesday night. But if one were cynical — and we are — you could say that is Howard and his agent trying to make sure his eventual landing place still has plenty of roll players and assets that can help them compete. So, sort of the anti-Knicks. (The Knicks might be in the talks, but Broussard says the Magic want Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler in a deal, which is a steep price.)
Keeping Howard this season is a lot to bet on a roll of the dice. Sounds like DeVos may be leaning against gambling.