HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – Dwight Howard is staying in Orlando, at least for the time being.
Once again, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the report…
The Orlando Magic have informed teams that they’re ending trade talks for Dwight Howard and plan to start the season with the All-Star center on their roster, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Magic’s decision came Wednesday as the Nets tried to assemble a potential multiteam trade for Howard that could have included the Magic receiving Nets center Brook Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace and draft picks.
The Magic informed the Nets and several suitors Wednesday afternoon they’re no longer discussing trade scenarios for Howard, league sources said.
So the Magic will do their best to convince Howard that he can win in Orlando. They’re still one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and last season, they were one of only four teams (Dallas, Miami and the Lakers were the other three) that ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
But the Magic don’t have the assets or the financial flexibility to really upgrade their roster at this point. And it can be argued that they already downgraded it by trading Brandon Bass for Glen Davis and Von Wafer.
Still, the Nets will remain ready to deal for Howard at any point. But unless they’re ready to start Damion James and Shelden Williams at the forward positions, they’re going to have to use some of their cap space, which had allowed them to offer the Magic and/or a third team (like the Blazers) salary relief in a trade.
The Nets should still waive Travis Outlaw via the amnesty clause (which they have to do by Friday) to maintain maximum flexibility. And they can retain their 2012 cap space by signing a couple of forwards (Kris Humphries will likely be one) to one-year contracts, or maybe trading for one on an expiring deal. Next summer’s cap space could obviously be used to pursue Howard if they still weren’t able to acquire him by the March 15 trade deadline.