Apr 07, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Magic defeated the Sixers 88-82. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Trades: Orlando Magic may not trade Dwight Howard until next season

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as the frontrunner to trade for Dwight Howard this summer. But the Orlando Magic are in no rush to deal the All-Star center, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

The Magic have stood their ground on trading Howard. They aren’t going to give him up for nothing and now maybe won’t give him up at all.

Sources told Broussard that the Magic may be willing to wait until after the season starts and all the way until the trading deadline in February before trading Howard. They are waiting for the best possible deal and their recent trade talks with the Lakers may be to try and get other teams to jump in with a better offer.

The potential trade between Orlando and the Lakers would also include the Cleveland Cavaliers as the third wheel. Howard would go to L.A., Andrew Bynum would go to Cleveland and the Magic would receive a slew of picks and some young prospects.

The most recent news surrounding that potential trade was Howard saying he does not plan on signing an extension no matter where he is next season. He wants to test free agency at least somewhat next summer but whichever team he ends up on will be able to offer him the longest contract worth the most money.

On paper, this deal still seems not quite as good as the potential package the Houston Rockets would be willing to send Orlando. Houston GM Daryl Morey has been going “all-in” to try and acquire Howard by stockpiling picks and first round draft picks from this year’s draft to try and entice the Magic to pull the trigger on a deal.

Houston is confident too that they would be able to convince Howard to stay with the team beyond next season.

The Rockets have signed this offseason two restricted free agents in Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. They are paying each quite a bit of money but the signings of both shouldn’t impede their attempts to trade for Howard.

The fact of the matter is that the Magic still have plenty of time before deciding what they want to do with Howard and they intend to take that time. It’s a smart move as the landscape of the NBA and potential trade partners can change on a daily basis.

The Brooklyn Nets who first appeared to be the frontrunners for Howard this summer and were the team that Howard said he wanted to be traded to, would be back in the hunt if Howard is still on the Magic by Jan. 15, 2013.

When the Nets extended center Brook Lopez, who would have been an integral piece in a Howard trade, it meant they couldn’t trade Lopez until Jan. 15 of next season. Brooklyn had essentially moved on from trying to trade for Howard or maybe they knew Howard wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Orlando dragging out the Howard saga may seem like a bad idea and many people would like to see the Magic trade him and rid themselves of his drama but it may be smarter for them to hold out for the best possible deal, even if that means waiting until next February.

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Tags: Andrew Bynum Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets Cleveland Cavaliers Dwight Howard Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin Los Angeles Lakers NBA Free Agency Omer Asik Orlando Magic

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