The NBA Eastern Conference’s balance of power, could undergo a radical alignment before the start of next season, as “ESPN.com” reported late Saturday night that their sources state, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard met with the club’s new General Manager Rob Hennigan on Friday and told him that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets. It was the first meeting between the two men, since Hennigan assumed the post two-weeks ago and the website’s sources state the new G.M. asked for the meeting, to determine his center’s thoughts on the future.
Hennigan, reportedly did not tell the All-Star big man what his plans are for Howard’s future. Published reports have stated for months that if Howard did not agree to a contract extension this summer, that Orlando would trade their big man to another club, before the start of the season. The new Magic General Manager is of course under no obligation to send Howard to a team that he wants to be with, although chances of another team signing him to an extension are unlikely. The Houston Rockets reportedly will not allow that to deter them for trying to acquire the center for the upcoming campaign, as they have stockpiled a trove of young talent over the past few days to try to entice Orlando to send Howard to Houston.
Howard exercised his option to play in the upcoming campaign under the terms of his existing contract, in an eleventh hour decision just before this past season’s trade deadline, which went into effect on March 15. At the time he made the choice to honor the last year of his contract, he stated that his loyalty to the city and the team, swayed his decision to stay with the Magic. Recent reports however, have said that the All-Star center now resents his decision and feels the franchise pressured him into it.
Howard, first asked to be traded to the Nets before this past season began and Orlando started exploring trade options with the team which would play its last campaign in New Jersey, this past season. The two teams tabled discussions after the Nets talented young center Brook Lopez was injured in January, as he was the centerpiece of any package that the Magic would receive in exchange for Howard. Lopez becomes a restricted Free Agent on Sunday, as Free Agency goes into effect.
The Orlando center has played all eight of his seasons in the Association with the Magic, after they took him with the first pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He has been the dominant center in the NBA during his career, as he has averaged 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds per contest. Howard would help Orlando reach the NBA Finals in 2009, but they would fail to win the Association Title, as they lost the series to the Los Angeles Lakers.