Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan likely went into his Wednesday meeting with Dwight Howard in Los Angeles hoping to convince the superstar to stay in Orlando at least long enough to get him to change his mind on his trade request. That ... didn't happen.
Source w/ direct knowledge of Howard-Orlando meeting: "Dwight remained unchanged in his desire to be traded and has no intention of (Cont)"— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 25, 2012
Source continued..."Signing another contract or extension in Orlando." Magic GM Rob Hennigan told Howard he's trying to trade him but ...— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 25, 2012
So Howard still wants a trade and won't be re-signing with the Magic. We knew that. But now Howard is reportedly outlining the scenarios he wants to see play out, which is sort of new.
Dwight outlines three scenarios to GM. Immediate trade to Lakers, a January trade to the Nets, or clean break at the end of the season.— RealGM (@RealGM) July 26, 2012
This would, of course, put the Magic in a bit of a bind, as shipping Howard off for parts is harder than it was before other teams made moves and committed to courses in the 2012 NBA offseason, and that hasn't escaped Howard's notice. But the Magic are likely also justifiably leery of granting Howard's wishes and trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers or Brooklyn Nets: either of those teams adding Howard would create a superteam that might ultimately eclipse even the Miami Heat, and that would obviously be an impediment to Hennigan's Magic ever competing for NBA titles.
As for Howard's eventual destination, he seems likely to take one of three paths in the next 12 months:
- Get traded to the Lakers, possibly before the 2012-13 NBA season, and subsequently sign an extension with them. Sources told RealGM Howard would sign an extension with Los Angeles.
- Get traded to the Nets, likely not until after Brook Lopez becomes eligible to be traded again in January, and sign an extension with them.
- Remain with the Magic through the 2012-13 NBA season, and depart in free agency for Dallas, as the Mavericks look to be the overwhelming favorites to sign Howard once he hits the open market.
Boiled down like that, it almost seems simple: Howard only wants deals to teams that can't really offer trades the Magic will accept, so those teams will need to enlist third or fourth parties to facilitate a trade. But the third and fourth parties might be similarly hesitant to place Howard on a contender, so the Magic might end up deciding to take less than fair value for Howard before the threat of him walking and bringing no return becomes a certitude, which would probably make Howard a Maverick if he his free agency next July. (OK, fine, that's not simple.)
When it comes to the path Howard has taken into the sights of many spiteful NBA fans, though, there's no easy way out.