The Orlando Magic are "trying to surround Dwight Howard with talent, not move him" before the March 15th NBA trading deadline, reports Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD. In addition, says Kennedy, the team has "involved" its superstar center "in the decision-making process" as it looks to improve its roster, something it didn't do in the past.
In a news conference last December announcing the resignation of Bob Vander Weide as the Magic's CEO, Otis Smith, Orlando's President of Basketball Operations, said he would not allow Howard to play general manager. "We're gonna continue to put the best team on the floor to win an NBA title," Smith said. "That doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to listen to everything Dwight has to say and placate to that."
Howard can leave the Magic via free agency in the summer, giving him leverage over the team. However, word that Orlando management has brought Howard into the loop as it looks to surround him with talent indicates he may be willing to stay with the team long-term if it makes the right moves.
Kennedy confirmed a report by Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM from Wednesday which said Orlando was trying to acquire high-scoring guard Monta Ellis from the Golden State Warriors. "I'm not sure the Magic have the assets to get it done," Kennedy says, but he does say the rumor "has legs."
Sam Amick and Marcus Thompson are skeptical that Golden State would trade Ellis to Orlando unless it received Howard in return. Amick called the rumor "far-fetched," while Thompson said "the Warriors aren't interested in any other player the Magic has to offer, especially not in exchange for Ellis."
Ellis, interestingly, is among the players Howard told Magic management he'd like to play alongside, reported HOOPSWORLD's Bill Ingram in December.