Reports from both ESPN.com and CBS Sports yesterday indicated that the Magic continue to try to surround Dwight Howard with talent in an effort to get him to stay in Orlando. If Howard remains noncommittal, the Magic are expected to re-evaluate their options tomorrow, with about 24 hours remaining before the trade deadline. So for today at least, the Magic seem more likely to discuss deals that don't involve their star center. Still, the Howard rumors continue to trickle in, and we'll keep tabs on Tuesday's items here, with the latest added to the top throughout the day:
- Michael Wallace of ESPN reports that Howard has informed the Magic that he intends to stay for the rest of the season, and that the Magic must now "roll the dice." (Twitter link)
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel wrote that GM Otis Smith said during the Magic-Heat game that nothing is imminent, but implied that he won't rule anything out.
- Magic CEO Alex Martins says that there are several teams willing to take on Howard as a rental without assurances that he'll stay, tweets Brian K. Schmitz.
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron-Beacon Journal spoke with a few people around the league who have a feeling that the Magic will likely move Dwight within the next 24 hours. (Twitter link)
- The Magic appear to be a team that currently has no deals to make other than one that involves Howard on his way out of Orlando, says Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Owner Rich DeVos told reporters that he does not believe anything major was going to happen.
- Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel tweets that Howard has not informed Magic CEO Alex Martins of whether or not he plans to stay or go during the offseason. John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com quoted Martins (via Twitter): "If you're asking whether we’ve decided to hang onto him or trade him, we haven’t made that decision yet."
- A source close to Howard tells Ric Bucher of ESPN.com that Howard hasn't made up his mind about playing for the Nets next season: "Brooklyn is 1 and Dallas is 1-A, but he hasn't made any decision. He hasn't even decided that he's leaving Orlando. If they can put one or two All-Star players around him, he'd consider staying. All he wants at this point is to play out the season with the Magic and be able to weigh his options."
- The Magic are coming to grips with the fact that trading Howard may be their best play, and the Nets are the favorite to land him, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Of the potential rental destinations for Howard, the Warriors and Rockets are the most serious suitors.
- Otis Smith is ready to trade Howard, but Magic ownership isn't, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld. Smith has two days to convince the team's brass to move ahead with a deal.
- If they were to discuss Howard, the Magic would like to get the Lakers back into the conversation, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. While the Lakers are on Howard's list of preferred destinations, they seem to rank a distant third behind the Netsand Mavericks.
- According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Nets remain the overwhelming favorite to sign Howard in free agency this summer.
- Howard's reluctance to commit one way or the other when faced with the Magic's full-court press is frustrating the team, writes SI.com's Sam Amick.
- The Magic released a statement today in response to the ESPN report (linked below) that suggested Howard could be given the agency to decide on the team's coach and GM, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The statement from CEO Alex Martins read: "The only person(s) who have the final say on coaches and management is the Orlando Magic ownership.
- In addition to his list of preferred trade destinations, Howard also has a list of guys he'd like to play with, reports Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Monta Ellis is on the list, and presumably players like Deron Williams and Stephen Jackson are on there as well.
- Warriors owner Joe Lacob doesn't want to trade Ellis unless the team can acquire Howard, as we outlined here.
- According to Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, the Magic are willing to let Howard decide the fates of coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith if he signs an extension. As Matt Moore of CBS Sports writes, if Bucher's report is accurate, it seems like a terrible precedent for the Magic to set.
- Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld (on Twitter) cautions that the Magic may only make a deal to bring in reinforcements around Howard if Dwight agrees to exercise his 2012/13 option. Kyler hears the Magic may have a trade on the table that could help, but comes with bad contracts — they would only agree to such a deal if Howard opted in for next season (Twitter link).
- Since the Magic trail only the Bulls and Heat in the Eastern Conference, Orlando may be inclined to keep Howard and try to make a deep playoff run his season, an East GM tells Peter Vecsey of the New York Post. It's the same thing the Cavaliers did in LeBron James' last season in Cleveland. "The Magic must like any trade they make at this point," the GM said. "If they can get 90-95 cents on the dollar for Dwight, my guess is they’ll deal. If it’s 70 cents, I think they’ll play it out like the Cavs did with LeBron."
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel calls the Magic's current opposition to trading Howard "an enormously high-risk strategy that also could bring an even bigger reward if Howard re-signs this summer."