The Orlando Magic agreed to trade Dwight Howard to the New Jersey Nets for a package including Brook Lopez sometime in December, Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD reports, but "Orlando's ownership stepped in and stopped it at the last second." The Nets are, understandably, unhappy with Orlando due to its backing out of the deal. In addition to losing out on Howard, the league's best center, New Jersey also lost Lopez for several months when he broke a bone in his foot shortly after Orlando backed out of the trade.
New Jersey is among three teams with which Howard would sign a long-term deal as a free agent; the other two are the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Prior to the start of the season, Howard asked Magic management to trade him.
Lopez is thought to be among the better center prospects in the league, but took a step back in 2010/11, averaging just six rebounds per game and shooting below 50 percent despite his size and position.
According to Steve Kyler, a colleague of Kennedy's at HOOPSWORLD, Orlando has delayed trading Howard because "there is no deal the Magic can make today thats [sic] better than the deal they can make in July via sign & trade." It wouldn't make sense to trade Howard now when better deals might come along later. And the Magic could retain him past the March 15 trading deadline, hoping to either convince him to re-sign during the offseason or instead working a sign-and-trade deal over the summer.
Further, the Magic believe any offer on the table for Howard now will still be there later; that includes a trade package built around Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who's averaging career-bests in scoring (16.4) and in rebounding (13.8, including four offensive boards).