10:10pm: Howard's agent Dan Fegan refuted reports that his client would sign an extension with the Lakers if he is traded to them, writes Ric Bucher of ESPN.com. "Dwight's position has remained unchanged since the end of this past season," said Fegan. "He fully intends to explore free agency at the end of next season, regardless of what team trades for him, including Brooklyn."
Fegan's comment doesn't neccessarily contradict this morning's report as it stated that Howard would "commit long-term" rather than immediately ink an extension. An extension could only give Howard a three-year deal while waiting until free agency could give the big man a five-year pact.
7:56am: After indicating for months that the Brooklyn Nets were the only team he had long-term interest in, Dwight Howard has signaled that he'd be willing to re-up with the Lakers if he were traded to Los Angeles, according to Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com. ESPN.com's Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelburne confirm Rudolph's report, noting that, while the Lakers haven't yet been informed of any change in Howard's thinking, the team has "always figured" he'd come around on a long-term extension if he were dealt to the Lakers.
While the Lakers remain "dogged" in their pursuit of Howard, it appears to be the Magic that are holding up any deal, according to ESPN.com. Orlando is willing to trade D12, of course, but doesn't want to rush into making a trade it isn't 100% sure about. The Magic have discussed the possibility of acquiring Andrew Bynum themselves or re-routing Bynum to a third team such as Houston or Cleveland in exchange for draft picks and cap relief — if Bynum comes to Orlando, Broussard says the young center would want to test the free agent market next summer, which may give the Magic doubts about acquiring him.
In the past, reports have suggested that Howard was reluctant to join the Lakers in part because he didn't want to follow in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps and in part because he was worried he might take a back seat on a team led by Kobe Bryant. However, according to Rudolph, Howard has moved past those concerns, and is confident he'd play an "integral role" with a team ready to compete for a title.
If Howard were to be dealt to the Lakers, he almost certainly wouldn't sign a new contract immediately. He could maximize his earnings by waiting until the end of the season and then signing a five-year, max-salary deal, like Deron Williams did with the Nets earlier this month. An in-season extension would only lock up him for a maximum of three more years.