Dwight Howard's representatives have told the New Jersey Nets that they are his first choice and that he plans to ask the Orlando Magic for a trade, ESPN reported early Friday morning.
Reached by the Orlando Sentinel late Friday morning, Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, said, "As the upcoming number-one free agent next summer, there is always going to be a lot of speculation regarding Dwight's intentions.
"Dwight is a very deliberate, thoughtful, considerate person, and when he makes up his mind in terms of either staying in Orlando or asking to be traded or waiting it out until the end of the year, I'm confident that he'll let the Magic know."
Howard can become a free agent after the 2011-12 season, and speculation has been rampant about his intentions. He has declined to discuss his long-term plans publicly in recent weeks, and it's unknown what, exactly, he has told Magic officials, although he has been in contact with them in recent days.
Magic officials have said they will do everything they can to keep him with the organization for the long-term. But Howard has grown increasingly concerned with the team's direction since the team's first-round playoff loss last spring, occasionally hinting that he wants more help on the roster.
Howard is participating in the Magic's first practice of training camp late Friday afternoon.
"Everything that we've heard from Dwight this week would not indicate that [he wants a trade]," Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins said after practice began.
"He's told us that he loves Orlando. He told us that he wants to be here, and those conversations continue."
The Nets have one of the sport's top point guards, Deron Williams, who also can become a free agent after the upcoming season.
Howard and Williams have said that they would like to play on the same team. Magic fans, obviously, would prefer to see Williams say he wants to be traded to the Magic.
The trend over the last 18 months in the NBA is for superstars to team up. That started when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces last summer on the Miami Heat. In the months since, Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks to play alongside his good friend, Amar'e Stoudemire.
The Nets arguably are as desperate to retain Williams as the Magic are to retain Howard. The Nets are scheduled to relocate from their arena in downtown Newark to a brand-new arena in Brooklyn before the 2012-13 season.
Having Howard and Williams would be an enormous boost for the franchise, which has always struggled to gain exposure in the shadow of the New York Knicks.
Playing for New Jersey would have an added benefit for Howard: The Nets also have shooting guard Anthony Morrow, whom Howard has identified as one of the five NBA players he'd most like to play with.
The Nets could offer 23-year-old center Brook Lopez and two first-round draft picks in a trade. The Nets are said also to be willing to accept the contract of Magic small forward Hedo Turkoglu, who is signed through the 2013-14 season for a total of about $34 million.
If Howard has told the Nets that he would only re-sign with them, it would significantly reduce the Magic's chances of securing a better deal from another team, because few, if any, other teams would be willing to trade talented players for Howard if he would play only one year for them.
Howard reacted sharply Thursday when one of his 2.4 million Twitter followers sent him a message urging him to remain with the Magic.
On Thursday, the follower, who goes by the handle MAGIC_FAN4EVA, wrote to Howard: "Dont leave the damn Magic man, You will be more hated than Lebron!!! Stay in Orlando and build a team around you!!!"
Howard responded: "would y'all leave me alone about that. Dang. Am I on another team no. And if u hate me becuz another jersey u never loved me".
If Howard does want to leave the Magic, it would be in his best financial interests to be traded to his preferred destination sooner than later because of the rules in the new collective bargaining agreement.
Those rules give an advantage to teams that attempt to re-sign their own players, allowing those teams to re-sign those players for one additional season and for larger annual raises.
But in order for a player to be eligible for that extra year and larger raises, he must have been traded to that team at least six months before he becomes a free agent.
So, Howard would want to join his preferred team at least six months before July 2012, when he can become a free agent. Then he would become a free agent and re-sign with that team for five seasons and receive 7.5 percent annual raises.
If Howard were to sign with an entirely new team next summer, he would only be eligible for a maximum four-season deal with annual raises of 4.5 percent.
Howard met with Smith face-to-face on Monday, the first day since the lockout started July 1 that officials from teams were permitted to have lengthy conversations with players.
Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans is entering the most important season of his young career. The front office has opted to wait on giving him an extension, meaning his play this season will largely determine how long his next contract is and how much it’s worth.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge,” admits Brand. “There’s guys thinking that, ‘O.K., I need to audition, to show,’ but I don’t think there’s too many more teams with cap space than right here. If you want to audition, play right and play the right way and that’s fitting into the system and doing what ownership and the coaching staff would want, that’s what I would think.hdrg44334
It has actually been a pretty remarkable run for the Celtics. It has not always been pretty, and it has had its share of controversy and heartbreak, but no one in 2008 would have predicted the Celtics would still be in the championship mix in 2013. But while the Celtics run as one of the NBA's elite is not over, the era that started it all is.
His ascension to the role is perhaps the biggest story line in Boston. Doc Rivers has said it. Danny Ainge has said it. So have Garnett and Pierce. Everyone in Green is making sure the world knows that Rajon Rondo is the leader of this team. gfd
His ascension to the role is perhaps the biggest story line in Boston. Doc Rivers has said it. Danny Ainge has said it. So have Garnett and Pierce. Everyone in Green is making sure the world knows that Rajon Rondo is the leader of this team. jgfdghdf
His ascension to the role is perhaps the biggest story line in Boston. Doc Rivers has said it. Danny Ainge has said it. So have Garnett and Pierce. Everyone in Green is making sure the world knows that Rajon Rondo is the leader of this team. hdfth454545
The guys not named Rondo are right about him stepping up in to a new role. He IS their leader. On the court, the ball is in his hands more than any other. He orchestrates offenses, often independent of Doc Rivers, who is content to let his point guard's CPU process everything he sees before him. And like Garry Kasparov flying through move after move in his head before placing a fingertip on a bishop, Rondo cycles through options at a dizzying mental pace before actually triggering the offense. 43653434
But Garnett, Pierce and Terry have been through the wars. They are still among the best in the business even at combined 106 years old. You do not hang around the NBA into your mid 30's in very important roles unless you know a little something about the game. These guys have forgotten things about basketball that Rondo hasn't learned yet. Of course they will lead. hfdsg34
But Garnett, Pierce and Terry have been through the wars. They are still among the best in the business even at combined 106 years old. You do not hang around the NBA into your mid 30's in very important roles unless you know a little something about the game. These guys have forgotten things about basketball that Rondo hasn't learned yet. Of course they will lead. gfyg
Brown said he elected to rest Gasol after deciding the four-time All-Star big man looked ''a little fatigued'' in recent days. The coach rested Bryant for an exhibition last week, making both moves against the veteran stars' good-natured objections.
Gasol has played extensively in the preseason in the absence of Howard, who still hasn't debuted for the Lakers midway through the preseason despite participating in every practice. Although the former Orlando center feels no pain in his surgically repaired back, Howard insists he won't return until he's completely healthy, but won't speculate on when it might happen.h45645
With a healthy Love and Kirilenko, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman wanted to start looking at combinations that will be used extensively early in the season. The Timberwolves have six new players who figure to play major minutes this season, and Adelman gave them plenty of playing time on Tuesday night.
With a healthy Love and Kirilenko, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman wanted to start looking at combinations that will be used extensively early in the season. The Timberwolves have six new players who figure to play major minutes this season, and Adelman gave them plenty of playing time on Tuesday night.hg3464343
The talent disparity turned the game into a glorified practice for the Wolves, which is just what they needed. Love, Kirilenko, Roy and Nikola Pekovic all played at least 25 minutes, with starting point guard Luke Ridnour playing 21 while he works his way back from a back injury that limited his ability to practice in training camp.\]09=90-
The key will be Roy, who is coming back after missing last season with chronic knee problems. He had a procedure this summer to try to relieve the bone-on-bone pain and signed with the Timberwolves in September after feeling much better in workouts.jhrth45
The former All-Star still winces when he's knocked to the floor, but he's been nothing but efficient and smooth offensively in the early going for the Wolves. Roy was 4 for 8 from the field, including 2 for 2 on 3s, hit nine of his 10 free throws and grabbed four boards as well in 25 minutes. hfdg43
But Irving isn’t going to be making a habit of such goose eggs. In fact, after winning Rookie of the Year last season, Irving is looking to come in and take his game to another level, and he uses two words to describe how he’s going to do that: patience and efficiency.j56uy75656
“I just want to come in everyday and try and make everybody better. You have to take the game that much more serious,” Irving said. “Going forward, especially going into my sophomore year, I just need to slow my game down and just be more efficient.”rwq2323
“Last year we were just thrown into the fire right away. We didn’t have a true training camp, and this year everybody has a better chance of getting into shape going into the season,” Irving said. “You definitely get a better feeling of familiarity with each other and just get some continuity on the offensive and defensive end.”u4765435
“I’m still in Texas, so that’s cool,” Curry told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a great organization and I’m extremely appreciative for this opportunity that Coach [Rick] Carlisle gave me, that Mark Cuban gave me, Donnie [Nelson] and everybody from top to bottom. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m just extremely appreciative.”
Even though there is certainly a need at the position in Dallas, a roster spot is not guaranteed with the Mavericks. Dallas has already brought in Chris Douglas-Roberts and Melvin Ely to deal with the possible exodus of Delonte West. Carlisle was impressed with Curry’s offensive production, but admitted that some work still needs to be done on the defensive end.