The Orlando Magic began their offseason shake-up Monday when they announced neither coach Stan Van Gundy or Otis Smith, the team's President of Basketball Operations, would return for the 2012/13 season. Despite the changes at the top of the basketball operations side of the organization, superstar center Dwight Howard "wants out of Orlando," according to Chris Bernucca of SheridanHoops.com, citing "a source close" to the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
"Howard wants out of Orlando more than he ever did before in order to start a new chapter in his career," writes Bernucca. He lists the Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers as clubs "that would appeal to Howard."
The SheridanHoops.com report indicates members of Orlando management and ownership are expected to meet with Howard soon to ascertain his level of interest in remaining with the organization that made him the top overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft. Since waiving the provision in his contract which would have enabled him to become a free agent on July 1st, Howard has given no indication that he intends to continue his career in Orlando beyond the 2012/13 season. Orlando will endeavor to secure such a commitment from Howard when management and ownership meets with him, Bernucca says, by offering a maximum contract extension.
However, if the former Slam Dunk champion won't agree to sign that extension, Bernucca reports the team is "expected to accommodate him and deal him to the highest bidder." The Magic will attempt to include Hedo Turkoglu in any trade package involving Howard, which will severely limit their potential suitors, as few clubs will have the salary-cap space to absorb both players.