Even though he agreed last season to stay in Orlando, Dwight Howard seems to be having a change of heart. The center has once again asked to be traded.
The Magic, who ultimately have a lot of leverage in any trade involved with their six-time all-star, can negotiate a lot in exchange for Howard.
The Rockets have already appeared to have much interest in Howard. However, he has publicly mentioned that he has no interest in signing a long-term deal with Houston if he is traded.
With the draft set to begin Thursday night, the Magic are still keeping their intentions hidden from the public.
I don't want to comment on that, GM Rob Hennigan said Wednesday when asked if Orlando will deal Howard. We're going to continue to evaluate everything we can and analyze all the details and the options and the scenarios. I don't know the answer to that. I have communicated with Dwight. I have communicated with his representation.
Across the country, the Lakers have also expressed an interest in acquiring Howard. Los Angeles has been eliminated from the playoffs in the second round the past two years, and is looking to get back to contending for a title.
In an attempt to clear up some much-needed cap room, the Lakers have been shopping around power forward Pau Gasol, and are also looking to picking up additional picks in this year's drafts.
In a potential deal with Orlando, the Lakers have considered dealing Metta World Peace, and should L.A. include him in a deal with Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would save salary cap space.
Should such a deal take place, the Lakers would have more room to sign a free agent.
This offer might seem very enticing for the Magic, and will probably be the best available deal they are going to get for Howard.
Bynum had the best season of his career last year, and proved to critics that when healthy, he can easily be the one of the best centers in the league. If traded to Orlando for Howard, the Magic will not necessarily be lost at the center position, but would actually be compensated with a very good player.
What I can tell you is we're in discussion with a lot of different teams about a lot of different things, GM Hennigan mentioned. What I can tell you is, especially this time of year, teams are motivated to explore any and every avenue they can to try to improve their teams and we're doing the same thing.
We're just gonna take it one step at a time and try to identify what's important to us and identify what's important to Dwight.
Besides the Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets, who have basically been trying to acquire Howard for quite some time, are still in pursuit to land the superstar.
The biggest factor in Brooklyn acquiring Howard might be the decision of Deron Williams. If the point guard decides to re-sign with the Nets,. Howard could push for a trade to Brooklyn. A tandem of Williams and Howard would immediately make them a threat in the East.
The Magic have become very interested in draftee Thomas Robinson, who is expected to be taken second overall by the Charlotte Bobcats. Negotiating a deal with the Bobcats to acquire their second-overall pick could help the Nets land the All-Star.
Without a high draft pick, the Nets don't have much to offer Orlando. Howard may want to be traded to Brooklyn, but the Magic won't make a deal unless they can get something of value in return.
The Lakers, at this point, are in a much better position to entice Orlando to make a deal.