9:43pm: SI.com's Chris Mannix suggests the Magic, who league executives believe are determined not to cave into Howard's demands, may prefer to wait to make a move until after January 15th, when trading for Brook Lopez once again becomes a possibility. That would give the Magic a chance to see how Lopez has healed from his broken foot, Mannix says.
8:59pm: The Magic didn't really try to convince Howard to stay in today's meeting, as Hennigan simply saw it as an opportunity to build trust, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Hennigan and the other Magic officials didn't talk to Howard about their head coaching search, Robbins adds. (Twitter links). The Magic expected Howard to reiterate his trade demands, however, and the team isn't deterred from its plan, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard reports via Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link).
8:41pm: Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com has details on the meeting between Howard and Hennigan, reporting that Hennigan, just hired this summer to replace Otis Smith, expressed a desire to get to know D12, while Howard wanted to see his plan for improving the team and was disappointed not to find out about it during the hour-long meeting. Hennigan told Howard he didn't have any trade in the works and wasn't sure how to respond to what Howard was telling him. Other teams are getting frustrated with the Magic's half-hearted attempts to trade Howard, and Wojnarowski reports the Magic are looking for strong package in return, similar to what the Nuggets got for Carmelo Anthony (Twitter link).
8:29pm: The Mavs are the "overwhelming favorite" to sign Howard if he winds up in free agency next summer, Wojnarowski hears, adding that Howard's camp has consistently warned the Rockets not to trade for him, with the threat of moving to their in-state rivals (Twitter links).
8:26pm: Chris Mannix of SI.com hears Howard would be open to re-signing with the Lakers after the season (Twitter link). Howard expressed his curiousity to Hennigan about why the Magic didn't make a trade while other stars, like Joe Johnson and Steve Nash, were on the move, Wojnarowski tweets.
8:19pm: Dwight Howard, in his meeting with Magic GM Rob Hennigan and Magic officials, gave the team three options: an immediate trade to the Lakers, a midseason trade to the Nets, or a clean break next summer, Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM tweets.
Meanwhile, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has left the door open to trading for Dwight Howard, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Shelburne hears the Lakers' stance hasn't changed, as they still believe a year with the Lakers would convince Howard to re-sign with the team next summer even if he's unwilling to make a long-term commitment to the team now. Still, the Lakers are unwilling to take on other lucrative deals the Magic want to include in a Howard trade. Shelburne also reports that Andrew Bynum's agent, David Lee, says he has not spoken with Kupchak about an extension for his client, refuting Kupchak's comments to the contrary.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports hears that the fact the Magic have waited so long to pull the trigger on a deal has hurt their offers (Twitter link).
7:55pm: Howard reiterated to Hennigan tonight that he doesn't want to stay in Orlando, and said he'll leave as a free agent next summer if the Magic refuse to trade him, Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com reports. Still, Hennigan is in no rush to move Howard without "acceptable compensation" in return (All four Twitter links).
7:41pm: If the meeting between Hennigan and Howard doesn't go well, the Magic are likely to trade him to the highest bidder, as opposed to whichever team Howard says he prefers, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reports (Sulia link). That could put teams comfortable with a one-year rental of Howard back in trade talks, like the Warriors, Amico suggests. Amico also said the Lakers and possibly the Rockets were in line to resume trade negotiations for Howard if he doesn't find the Magic's presentation convincing (Twitter link).
6:26pm: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak spoke today with Andrew Bynum agent David Lee about an extension for the 24-year-old center, reports Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. That's further indication that talk of a three-team trade that would bring Dwight Howard to Los Angeles has stalled. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, Magic GM Rob Hennigan and his staff are currently in Los Angeles to meet with Howard, who has been rehabbing from back surgery in Southern California (Twitter link). As Kennedy reported yesterday, Hennigan and other Magic officials planned to travel to L.A. to deliver a presentation designed to convince Howard to stay in Orlando.
Lee said this weekend that extension talks between his client and the Lakers would begin soon if trade discussion dragged out. In that same report, we noted the Lakers were reluctant to let any other team talk to Bynum before a trade was agreed to in principle, so it's clear they value the 7-footer. Still, Bynum would be in line for a longer deal with more guaranteed money if he were to play out the final season of his current contract this year and re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent. An extension would only give Bynum three more seasons past 2012/13, while he could get five more seasons if he waited to sign a new deal next summer.
Bynum, who'll turn 25 in October, may prefer a shorter deal, since he would be about to turn 31 years old at the end of any five-year deal he'd sign in 2013. He may also be motivated to get an extension done now, or risk being dangled as a trade chip. The Lakers might not want to lock themselves into Bynum for too long, given that this past season was only the second since 2006/07 that he's been healthy enough to play in more than 80% of the team's regular season games. That appears to be the logic Kupchak is advancing in the talks, telling Ding that, as a player, he sought security after undergoing a pair of back surgeries.