Disgruntled Magic center Dwight Howard met with Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry for two hours in Los Angeles on Wednesday, league sources told SI.com. In the meeting, Howard reiterated that he wants to be traded as soon as possible.
During the meeting, which was at Orlando's request, Howard repeated his position to Hennigan and Perry that he had no intention of signing an extension with the Magic. According to sources, Howard expressed frustration that what he perceived as viable trade offers from Brooklyn and the Lakers were rejected. While Howard has made it clear that he will not sign a long-term extension with the team that acquires him -- primarily because he can sign only a three-year extension as opposed to inking a new four- or five-year deal in the offseason -- sources said that if he is dealt to the Lakers he would strongly consider re-signing with L.A. at the end of the season.
If Howard is not traded, Dallas, which could have enough cap space to sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year outright in the offseason, is his preferred destination, a source said.
While Howard did not threaten to hold out, he made it clear during the meeting that he does not want to be with the Magic at the start of next season.
Still, rival executives believe that Orlando is determined to play hardball with Howard and will not simply cave to his demand. One possibility is that Orlando prefers to hold on to Howard until Jan. 15, when all players who signed contracts in the offseason are eligible to be traded. Among those players is Brooklyn center Brook Lopez, the centerpiece player in a Howard deal with the Nets who is recovering from surgery to repair a broken foot. By waiting, the Magic would be able to get a close look at Lopez and assess whether he has fully recovered.