Howard, Magic Rift Likely to get Worse?
If (Dwight) Howard isn’t traded — and if he’s so determined to leave Orlando that he would forgo a year of income at $25 million to do it — then he would have to be content with accepting a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises when he becomes a free agent. The Magic, or another team if he were traded, would be able to deliver a five-year deal with 7.5 percent annual increases. That’s Orlando’s trump card in this game of chicken. That, and their right to call Howard’s bluff that after all these months of pushing for Brooklyn, he would suddenly use Dallas as a credible threat to get what he really wants.
So the stare down begins. If it’s not even August — seven months before the trade deadline — and Howard already has begun setting things aflame, there’s no telling how much uglier it gets from here.
The meeting Wednesday was attended by Howard, his agent, Dan Fegan, and business manager Kevin Samples, in addition to Magic GM Rob Hennigan and assistant GM Scott Perry. It got heated at times, as Howard directly challenged Orlando’s new front office as to why he hasn’t been traded yet. As for indications that Howard had been given assurances from the ownership level he would be gone by now, Orlando management has rejected them — referring to Howard’s own words when he voluntarily waived his right to become a free agent at the March trade deadline.