During the Orlando Magic's annual Media Day event Monday, franchise center Dwight Howard--whose trade request became public Saturday--softened his stance on leaving Orlando, leaving open the possibility that he would stay if the team made certain moves. "If you're willing to change and you're willing to do what it takes to win, then, you know, you've got me," Howard said, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.
And citing sources, ESPN's Marc Stein reports one move Howard wants Orlando to make is to sign free-agent point guard Chauncey Billups after he clears waivers. The New York Knicks used the amnesty clause on the former NBA Finals MVP in order to clear salary-cap space to add Tyson Chandler, making Billups a free agent. According to Stein, Howard sees Billups as a potential "anchor" for Orlando.
The Magic, if they indeed wish to pursue Billups, will have plenty of competition for his services; Stein says Howard would need to dissuade the 14-year veteran from joining the Miami Heat. Billups averaged 16.8 points and 5.4 assists in 2010/11, split between the Denver Nuggets and the Knicks, while shooting 40.2 percent on three-pointers and 91.6 percent from the foul line.
But before this situation can play out, Billups must clear waivers. Teams below the salary cap may enter blind bids on players waived via the amnesty clause, with the team submitting the highest bid earning the rights to that player. Billups' agent, Andy Miller, has tried scaring teams away from claiming off waivers. "Buyer beware," Miller said. Nonetheless, the Charlotte Bobcats may call Billups' bluff and claim him anyway. Further, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the New Jersey Nets might claim Billups in the hopes of luring Howard.