Dwight Howard wants to stay with the Orlando Magic for the rest of his career--and the organization's goal is the same--and remaining with Orlando is "by far" his preference, according to Bill Ingram of HOOPSWORLD, and "he is willing to give them every opportunity to keep him." However, unless the Magic manage to improve their roster and again become championship contenders, he may not stay.
Ingram, who says his report gives "the gist" of what Howard said in a meeting with Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith on Tuesday, also notes Howard's "wishlist" of players for Orlando to acquire includes childhood friend Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, and Monta Ellis. Prior to the start of the lockout, Ken Berger reported that the Magic had indeed contacted the Atlanta Hawks to discuss acquiring Smith. I've previously addressed Ellis' potential fit with the Magic.
The news that Howard allegedly asked Smith about acquiring specific players is made interesting in light of comments Smith made in a news conference Wednesday morning, one day after he met with Howard. "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." Would obtaining, say, Iguodala at Howard's suggestion qualify as placating him?
After the jump, word on the chances of Howard signing an extension with the Magic prior to or during the forthcoming season (spoiler alert: basically nil), as well as Orlando's suddent interest in free-agent defensive ace Shane Battier.
Regardless of any moves the Magic make, Howard will not sign an extension with Orlando, as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement makes it more profitable for him to opt out of his current contract at season's end and then re-sign a new contract.
As Ingram notes, landing another star to pair with Howard via trade will be difficult, given the lack of quality assets at Smith's disposal.
Elsewhere, the Magic "believe they are the frontrunners" to sign free-agent forward Shane Battier. The ten-year veteran specializes in defense and three-point shooting and is widely regarded throughout the league for his IQ both on and off the court. It's the first time a rumor has linked Battier to Orlando. "Battier's list still includes the Heat, Spurs, Pacers, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics and his former Memphis team," Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday. "The Thunder have also had discussions with either Battier or his camp."
Battier split the 2010/11 season between the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 7.6 points per game and shooting a respectable 38.2 percent on three-pointers. He would seem to be a natural fit for Orlando, and in particular for coach Stan Van Gundy, but it's unclear what his role with the team might be just yet. Hedo Turkoglu figures to see the bulk of the minutes at small forward; ditto J.J. Redick at shooting guard.
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