Nets Remain Offseason Frontrunner For Howard

Whether or not the Magic decide to trade Dwight Howard this week, Howard himself still intends to sign with the Nets this summer, says Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. According to Wojnarowski, Howard's desire to avoid confrontation and to be liked have led Dwight to let the Magic believe they have chance to re-sign him.

"Dwight’s gone, and [Magic CEO] Alex Martins is the only person who doesn’t believe that," a source with knowledge of Howard's intentions told Wojnarowski.

While Howard has privately been telling people he could be convinced to stay if the Magic bring in help around him, Wojnarowski calls that possiblity a long shot. As the Warriors' stance on Monta Ellis exhibits, any team that believes it may have a chance to sign Howard in free agency won't be inclined to agree to a trade that improves the Magic's chances of keeping him.

Wojnarowski also points to a growing belief that Howard doesn't want to push for a trade that would force his new team to give up core assets for him. One official who has talked with the Magic, Nets, and agents involved in the process told Wojnarowski: "Dwight is going to [expletive] them (the Magic), and that will be especially true if he doesn’t even ask for the sign-and-trade on July 1st, because he wants Brooklyn to keep assets."

According to Wojnarowski, the Nets are confident enough about signing Howard this summer that they won't feel pressured to make an aggressive trade offer for D12 this week. New Jersey has reportedly expressed interest in Boris Diaw's $9MM expiring contract as a way of clearing cap space to sign Howard, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez this offseason.

For the rest of today's updates on Howard, check out our complete round-up.

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