Dwight Howard is reportedly mulling signing a waiver to give up his opportunity to opt-out of his contract this off-season.
CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported on Twitter on Wednesday that the Orlando Magic big man told an Orlando Magic official that he would sign a waiver to opt-in for next season. The move to sign the waiver would seemingly give up any leverage that Howard has, but would give the Magic some peace of mind that they won't lost their biggest star to free agency for nothing in return.
Dwight's dreaming if he thinks Orlando won't trade him without a commitment,'' a source told ESPN. He needs to make some small commitment to them. They're saying it can't be one way.''
Berger also reported that Howard held a team meeting in San Antonio and told his teammates that he would be opting in for next season, but there has subsequently been some confusion to exactly what he said in the meeting.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Howard told his teammates he was all-in for this season, but didn't mention anything about staying beyond this season. That report would fall more into place with Howard's public comments about rescinding his trade demand, but his refusals to promise to stay in Orlando long-term.
Howard has told the organization to roll the dice with him, but the Magic are rightfully a bit worried about the situation. Magic CEO Alex Martins has done everything in his power to appease the All-Star, but most still believe he will jettison the franchise to join Deron Williams next year in Brooklyn.
The Magic are currently playing the high risk-high reward game with Howard. The team is determined to not deal Howard before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, but the pressure is certainly building in Orlando. If Howard actually decided to sign the waiver it would certainly put them at ease, but Berger reports that Howard is yet to return the signed document to the team.
The document would have to be signed by Howard and his agent, Dan Fegan, in order for it to be valid. The Magic would like to have that information in their hands as soon as possible, otherwise the trade deadline could come and pass and they still might not know Howard's thoughts about the future.