Dwight Howard is still a member of the Orlando Magic.
It would have been hard to predict that with the acrimonious dialogue between the franchise and the Magic since the end of last season. It seems like reports had Howard out of Orlando on at least two occassions this offseason.
Yet, when Orlando could not find any offers it liked in late June, the Magic put the trade talks on hold. Orlando still needed a head coach and general manager Rob Hennigan told the press he would focus more on finding a new head coach and keeping the franchise moving forward.
It was a slow process and rumors still surfaced, particularly with Dwight Howard opening up to a trade to the Lakers and then with a three-team deal between the Lakers, Cavaliers and Magic. Now though, the Magic have their coach, hiring Jacque Vaughn to lead the franchise.
Trading Dwight Howard is undoubtedly the next step for the Magic. And the move could come quickly… or not.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported several sources believe the Magic may move quickly to trade Howard, possibly by the end of the week.
The Magic were not repeating that feeling during the press conference introducing Vaughn. It is very clear though that getting back to the business of building the 2012-13 roster. And that very much includes Dwight Howard.
"I’m going to re-iterate what you have heard thus far: we’re going to do what is in the best for the organization moving forward," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "We’re not going to let anybody else dictate the timeline, we’re not going to let anybody else dictate the parameters. When we determine that the time is right to make a decision and what that decision will be in the best interest of this organization and our fans, we will do that."
The Magic are not leaving that line. Even if that means starting the season with Howard on the roster, something Martins intimated would not happen at the end of last season.
Orlando is in no rush. The only deadline the team has to trade Dwight Howard is the February trade deadline. The Magic do not want to make a deal that would not help them. Orlando does not seem willing to make a deal to make a deal — otherwise Howard would be a Net by now.
The only details Hennigan seemed willing to divulge was an update on the meeting the Magic and Howard had last week in Los Angeles. Hennigan said it was more of a checkup meeting, one that he will be having with other members of the Magic in the coming weeks. There was no real change in where Howard stands in relationship to his trade demand. Hennigan only said that his rehabilitation was going along well.
Jacque Vaughn only said he would call Howard in the coming days, as he would the other players on the team.
Anything more was not revealed at Monday's press gathering.
"The concern is to take it one day at a time, to continue to sift through the process, to continue to analyze situations that are presented to us, to continue to analyze our own internal benchmarks," Hennigan said. "We will be prepared for whatever scenario is thrown our way."
As always, stay tuned.