Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
A contingent of Orlando Magic representatives, including GM Rob Hennigan and whichever head-coach Hennigan hires, will visit Magic center Dwight Howard in Los Angeles later in the week to pitch him on staying with the team long-term, reports Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD. Howard is in L.A. as he continues to rehabilitate from season-ending back surgery. Howard had reiterated to Hennigan his desire to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets in an early-July phone conversation, but Brooklyn, as Kennedy notes, "is out of the picture for at least six months." With Howard's preferred destination closed off, Orlando hopes it can convince him to remain with the only team for which he's played his entire eight-year career rather than choosing a new destination.
Tuesday's development is the latest in a saga that's drawn out for nearly eight months; Howard first requested a trade from Orlando, then under the stewardship of Otis Smith, in December's training camp. Rumors about his future with the team dogged the Magic throughout the season, but Howard ended them on March 15th, the day of the NBA trading deadline, by waiving his right to become a free agent in 2012. Howard would reverse his stance the next month and has been seeking a way out of Orlando ever since.
As a result of the waiver he signed on March 15th, Howard cannot become an unrestricted free agent until July 1st, 2013. If he will not commit to remaining in Orlando long-term, it's widely assumed the Magic will trade him in order to avoid losing him for nothing.