Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Magic GM & Staff Will Travel to L.A. This Week to Try & Persuade Dwight Howard to Stay

Trade rumors have been swirling for weeks, but Dwight Howard is still a member of the Orlando Magic. The Magic continue to negotiate with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, but a deal doesn’t appear to be close, according to sources close to the situation.

Magic general manager Rob Hennigan isn’t in any rush to trade Howard and Orlando isn’t impressed with the offers that they’ve received in recent weeks. They’re not ready to trade away the top center in the league for pennies on the dollar.

“People forget that he’s Dwight Howard,” said one source in Orlando. “We’re talking about one of the best players in the league. We’re not just going to give him away.”

In fact, Orlando may not trade Howard at all.

For months, it has been assumed that Howard has played his last game as a member of the Magic, but that may not be the case.

In recent days, the Magic have shifted their attention away from the ongoing trade talks and focused on persuading Howard to remain in Orlando. Hennigan and his staff will travel to Los Angeles later this week to meet face-to-face with Howard and deliver a presentation designed to persuade Howard to return to the Magic. Hennigan is determined to fix the strained relationship between the player and the organization, and he’s hopeful that Howard will resume his career in Orlando.

Hennigan asked Howard to drop his trade demand during a phone conversation two weeks ago, but the six-time All-Star reiterated his desire to be traded. Now, however, Howard has agreed to meet with the Magic and sources within the organization are optimistic that they can change his stance with this pitch.

It’s no secret that Howard has wanted to join the Brooklyn Nets for quite some time. Now, with the Nets out of the picture for at least six months, the Magic are hoping that Howard is open to a return rather than settling on another destination like Los Angeles, which Howard seemed hesitant to commit to until recently. Howard doesn’t have many options, which is one reason Orlando is hopeful he’ll be willing to return.

Over the next several days, the Magic are expected to hire a head coach and whoever they hire will likely be in attendance when Hennigan and his staff meet with Howard in Los Angeles. Jacque Vaughn is the frontrunner, but Michael Curry and Lindsey Hunter are also finalists for the job.

The soap opera in Orlando continues and the ending may be extremely anticlimactic if the two sides can work out their differences. While a lot has transpired in recent months, the Magic are hopeful that they can bring Howard back and put this drama behind them.

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