Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins told Yahoo Sports that he is hopeful that the organization will be able to keep Dwight Howard, despite the talented big man's trade request.
Martins said that the Magic are currently working on trying to resign Howard and are not yet preparing to trade him, ahead of the NBA's trade deadline on March 15th.
We've had good conversations with him and with his people, Martins told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. That gives me hope.
Howard has been the source of countless trade rumors after news broke in the off-season that he wanted out of Orlando. ESPN reported that Howard's preferred destination is the New Jersey Nets in order to team up with point guard Deron Williams.
The Nets have been eager in trying to acquire Howard, but the Magic have held off on accepting their trade proposal. A trade package from the Nets would likely include center Brook Lopez and a few first-round draft picks, but The Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday that the Magic don't really want Brook Lopez in Dwight deal.
The Los Angeles Lakers are another team that is believed to be heavily interested in trying to acquire Howard. The Lakers have reportedly dangled Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in different trade proposals to the Magic, but a recent Sports Illustrated story suggested that Howard might not be as interested in going to the Lakers as he once was. SI's Sam Amick said that Bryant has told Howard he sees him as a second or third option on a title contending Lakers team and that has allegedly soured Howard's thoughts of playing in Los Angeles.
It's clear that there is no shortage of interest from teams trying to acquire Howard, but the Magic continue to hold off on dealing the face of their franchise. The hesitancy to trade Howard makes sense, but it is also a risky proposition. If the Magic don't trade Howard and can't sign him to a long-term deal, the organization runs the risk of getting nothing in return for their best player if he decides to sign elsewhere in the off-season.
Don't be surprised to see a lot of Howard rumors in the next few weeks as teams desperately try to pry him away from Orlando, while the Magic do everything in their power to try to convince him to sign a long-term deal.