The Magic appear to be more interested in acquiring players to surround Dwight Howard than trading Howard himself, as we learned in yesterday's round-up of Howard rumors. With less than two weeks remaining until the trade deadline, we'll see if the team maintains that stance or starts exploring D12 deals in earnest. For now, here are Friday's updates on Howard, with the latest on top:
- Magic CEO Alex Martins tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), "We’ve had good conversations with [Howard], and with his people. That gives me hope." Martins reiterated that the team is still trying to convince Howard to re-sign (Twitter link).
- Josh Ireland of ESPN Radio (audio link) hears that Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, has told the Lakers his client wouldn't sign an extension if he's traded to Los Angeles. I don't think this is particularly revelatory, since I don't expect Howard to sign an extension anywhere before he hits free agency, due to restrictions on in-season extensions. Whichever team has Howard at season's end would certainly have a leg up in the summer though, being able to offer D12 an extra year and larger raises on a long-term deal.
- Martins doesn't intend to try to trade Howard until he's exhausted every last effort to convince the star center to stay in Orlando, writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. "We’ve continued to to have a daily dialogue with Dwight since December," Martins said. "He feels that he is being heard as far as what his goals are. And, by the way, the goals are the same: We both want to win."
- More Martins on Howard: "We'll continue those dialogues over the next couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll get to a point where we both believe that the best place to win a championship is Orlando and we’ll work out the details to make sure Dwight is a part of that for years to come."
- Howard said he spoke to Martins yesterday about where things stand, but "we didn't talk like we need to talk." Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has the details.