Dwight Howard Spells It Out For Orlando
Orlando Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard met with Magic GM Otis Smith on Monday night and everyone wants to know what was said in the meeting. Today HOOPSWORLD has learned the gist of what was said.
First of all, forget Dwight signing a contract extension this season. The Magic could add Chris Paul, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Dwight would still not sign an extension, not because he doesn’t want to be in Orlando, but because under the new collective bargaining agreement it would be a horribly bad business decision.
The new CBA allows veteran players to extend their deal to a maximum of four years, meaning at no time can your extension push you past four guaranteed years. Dwight has two more years on his contract with the Magic, with an option coming this summer. As of today, Dwight can only sign a two-year extension with the Magic, as this season and next would count towards the four allowed. Next summer Dwight (and Chris Paul and Deron Williams) could opt out and sign a new contract for five years. BY waiting until July, Dwight can sign for two more years than he can sign for now.
So there will be no extension for Dwight.
That said, the league’s best center by far still very much wants to be in Orlando, and he is willing to give them every opportunity to keep him. What that means to Dwight is that he wants the Magic to be contenders, and to that end Orlando has a short list of players they would like to add in an effort to return to contention. Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and Golden State’s Monta Ellis are on that list.
That’s all well and good, but the Magic have very little room to negotiate trades, as their roster is replete with bad contracts. It remains to be seen whether or not the Magic can make the moves necessary to keep Dwight in town.
In other, related news, the Magic have thrown their name into the Shane Battier sweepstakes, and even believe they are the frontrunners. Battier is clearly a prized free agent, with interest coming from the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and other teams. He doesn’t seem to fill a specific need in Orlando, any more than the Magic have the cap space to out-bid other teams with cap room to spare.
UPDATE: It’s now being reported that Shane Battier will join the Miami HEAT, with an announcement expected soon.