A rumor that the Orlando Magic might trade center Dwight Howard, small forward Hedo Turkoglu, and point guard Jameer Nelson to the Los Angeles Lakers for All-Star big men Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and could obtain point guard José Calderón from the Toronto Raptors, started spreading Sunday evening just before tipoff of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. But the Magic have since denied that rumor, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. "Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Sentinel the rumor is wrong," reports Robbins.
Howard can become a free agent in the summer and requested a trade to the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, or New Jersey Nets during training camp. Orlando could risk losing him for nothing unless it trades him prior to the March 15th deadline. According to Robbins, the Magic plan to "speak to Howard at some point before or on March 1 to see what he plans to do when he can become a free agent this summer."
Bynum and Howard started at center for their respective conferences in Sunday's contest. Bynum, making his All-Star debut, went scoreless in five minutes, shooting 0-of-3 from the field. He blocked Howard's shot attempt on the Eastern Conference's first possession of the game. Howard finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and a blocked shot.
Now in his seventh season, Bynum is averaging career-bests in scoring (16.3), rebounding (12.8), and minutes played (34.6) per game. He and Gasol anchored the Lakers' front line when they won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.