The Orlando Magic decided Wednesday to end trade talks with the New Jersey Nets and other teams on superstar center Dwight Howard and plan to start the season with him in the lineup, Yahoo! Sports reported, citing sources.
Magic officials reportedly still believe that a successful 2011-12 season could help them convince the three-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year to sign a long-term contract.
The move came after the Nets proposed a multi-team deal that would have seen center Brook Lopez, point guard Jordan Farmar and Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace sent to the Magic, along with a first-round draft pick. The Nets would have landed Howard as well as the Magic’s Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu, while the Blazers would have received four draft picks for Wallace.
The talks reached ownership level in Orlando, but the Magic did not approve the trade, sources said, before general manager Otis Smith informed teams Howard was no longer on the market.
The report indicated Howard was not happy with the Magic’s decision to end the talks and that he told his Orlando teammates Tuesday he thought his trade to the Nets was a "done deal." On Wednesday, Howard then told the players "ownership killed it," a source said.
A league executive familiar with the situation told CBS Sports on Wednesday that the Magic will revisit trade talks for Howard after the All-Star break, which is scheduled for Feb. 24-26 in Orlando. The 2011-12 trade deadline is March 15.
Howard, 26, can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and become a free agent, so the Magic risk losing him for nothing if they choose not to make a deal.
Howard requested a trade to the Nets, where he would pair with star point guard Deron Williams before the franchise moves to Brooklyn after this season. He is also willing to sign a long-term extension with the Lakers or Mavericks.
Though the talks are off for now, the teams could renew negotiations during the season up until the March trade deadline.