The Los Angeles Lakers contacted the Orlando Magic to gauge their interest in trading superstar center Dwight Howard to them, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports, but the talks were "cursory." Bresnahan interprets that word to mean the talks were "unproductive," which means neither team made a formal trade proposal.
It's a strong indicator that Orlando, under President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith, intends to take a patient approach with regard to the future of its franchise cornerstone; until Howard makes clear his intentions--stay with Orlando long term, continue his career with another team, or stay with the Magic this season and test free agency in 2012--trading him would make no sense.
As Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD reports, the Magic are "operating" under the assumption that Howard will stay, and thus "will spare no expense" in order to acquire more talent to put around him. Kyler, citing Howard's "camp," says the former No. 1 overall draft pick "wants to finish what he started" with the Magic.
Teams cannot sign players or trade them until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is officially ratified. The players and owners will vote to approve the new CBA on Thursday, meaning Friday, December 9th, is the first day for player movement can begin. A key provision in the new CBA makes it more profitable for Howard to stay with Orlando and then opt out of his contract following the season rather than sign an extension now.