Despite the exit of coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith today, Dwight Howard "desperately" wants to be traded before next season, a source tells Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com. While it seemed the moves were made with Howard in mind, the superstar center wants out of Orlando now more than ever, according to the source.
Sheridan says Magic execs are expected to meet soon with Howard in Los Angeles, where he's recovering from back surgery. If he reiterates then that he wants out, Sheridan says the team is expected to try to trade him to "the highest bidder." The source says the Nets are still the frontrunner for his services, but the Mavericks, Knicks and, to a lesser degree, the Clippers and Lakers, are destinations that also appeal to Howard.
Earlier today we heard that Magic CEO Alex Martins has called for Howard to make his decision regarding his future with the club. At the trade deadline this past March, Howard declined his early termination option for next season, committing himself to the last season of his contract with the Magic. The move appears only to have been a temporary stay of the drama surrounding his rumored departure. Howard missed the playoffs for the Magic this season after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back more than a month ago. He has been rehabbing in Los Angeles and has not returned to Orlando since the operation. The Magic said earlier he's staying there because he requires frequent checkups from his doctors in L.A., but Howard's choice of locations nonetheless fueled speculation he's estranged from the team.