Dwight Howard once again confirmed that he would not give the new Orlando Magic front office a chance and that he will indeed depart for greener pastures once his contract is up after next season—if he makes it that far.
Following that declaration, Fox Sports' Sam Amico reported that trade negotiations between the Magic and other teams are heating up:
That could mean again reaching out to the Los Angeles Lakers, a destination which Howard is said to be open. It could also mean possibly trying to involve a third team with the assets and salary-cap room to help facilitate a deal, such as Cleveland or Houston.
Whether it be through a third team or a direct trade, the Los Angeles Lakers' chances of acquire the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year are increased with this news.
At the very least, those chances aren't decreased.
According to Amico's report, the Magic backed off of trade talks in order to concentrate on finding a new coach for the team, as well as figuring out if Howard had changed his mind at all.
The Magic have an answer to both of those questions. Jacques Vaughn was hired by general manager Rob Hennigan (via ESPN). That shouldn't come as a surprise, as Hennigan comes from a pedigree of San Antonio Spurs personnel and Vaughn was most recently an assistant coach for the team.
Now that there aren't any more uncertainties revolving around Howard and the organization (Howard wants out. A coach has been found.), the front office can focus on swinging a trade to end this circus act.
Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers are likely to have to send Andrew Bynum to another team if they are to acquire Howard. As of now, the Lakers are the best trade partner that the Magic are going to find if they wish to unload their disenchanted star before the season begins.
The Brooklyn Nets lost their trade flexibility by signing Brook Lopez to a max contract. Lopez isn't eligible to be traded until January 15, which basically eliminates a swap between the Nets and Magic until that time.
Howard has constantly said that he will only sign an extension with the Nets, but I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't want to play with one of the best players ever in Kobe Bryant, one of the best point guards ever in Steve Nash and one of the most versatile big men in the league in Pau Gasol.
Sure, you can make the case that he wants to be the center of attention or the man on a team, but he will be eventually if he ends up in Los Angeles.
Bryant is at the back end of his career. Nash is even closer to retirement. Gasol is already 32 years old. At just 26 years old, Howard could be running the show by the time he hits the big 3-0.
However, it's impossible to predict what Howard is going to do. Even he doesn't know what the future holds.
It makes sense for the Lakers, Magic and Howard if the two teams can work a trade that lands Howard in Los Angeles. Now that the doors are as wide open as they have ever been, the Lakers are in a better position than any other organization to make the blockbuster trade of the NBA offseason.