Magic running out of time to move Howard

The agents for Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum have spoken, and here’s what it means:


Or, at best, very little.

Howard and Bynum are the centerpieces of a potential trade between the Magic, Lakers and Cavaliers in which Howard would be sent from the Magic to the Lakers, and Bynum from the Lakers to Cavs. The Magic would receive an array of draft picks and veterans.

Numerous dynamics (and contracts) are at play here, which is why a trade like this will be difficult to execute. But, according to multiple FOX Sports Ohio sources familiar with the talks, the teams are at least trying. And they’re not being swayed by anything representatives of Howard and Bynum have said to the media.

Howard is represented by Dan Fegan, and Bynum by David Lee. Fegan and Lee have made somewhat of a media tour lately, the idea being to paint a clearer picture of where their clients stand.

Fegan reportedly said Howard, who is due to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season, will not sign an extension with any team. That contradicted an earlier report claiming Howard would commit long term to the Lakers in the event of trade.

Meanwhile, Lee said neither he nor Bynum has had a conversation with Cavs general manager Chris Grant. Bynum is also an unrestricted free agent in 2013, and while there were no reports that Lee and Grant had actually spoken, Lee’s comments did seem to result in the cooling off of those fired up for a deal.

What’s barely been mentioned is the fact that teams don’t often ask an agent for his thoughts until the parameters of a trade are in place. Actually, it would be against NBA rules to do so if the agent’s client is still under contract with another team (as Howard and Bynum are). The resulting penalties would be severe.

Secondly, a good agent cares about one thing in these situations, and that’s to maximize his client’s leverage, and therefore, earnings. So no agent is going to come out in favor of his client going to a certain team. As vague as Lee has been about his client’s odds of landing in Cleveland, he’s been equally nebulous about Bynum remaining with the Lakers.

Mostly, what seems to be the sticking point in this deal is not an agent or player, but the indecisiveness of the Magic — and their new GM, Rob Hennigan.

According to sources, the Magic have frustrated potential trading partners by continuously changing terms at the last minute. This supposedly dates back to their dealings with the Nets a few weeks back, when Nets GM Billy King felt an agreement that would send Howard to Brooklyn had been finalized, sources said.

Instead, the Nets re-signed their own free-agent center, Brook Lopez, eliminating themselves from landing Howard.

The Magic, meanwhile, have for the time being moved on to the Lakers, Cavs and possibly Rockets, and are said to be acting equally as difficult — with the Magic’s thinking seeming to be there’s no need to rush when they possess the big asset everyone wants.

Makes sense, but as one opposing GM noted, there’s no way the Magic can bring Howard to camp in late September, and the clock is ticking. So the pressure soon will be on Hennigan, if it’s not already.

As for the Cavs and Lakers, both teams reportedly have been determined in their pursuit of Howard and Bynum, respectively, with one source saying the Cavs are acting “cautious, but aggressive.”

Also, a Lakers official said Fegan’s remarks were understandable, but not exactly telling. He added the Lakers are standing firm in their belief that Howard will sign an extension once he gets a taste of day-to-day life with the organization and in LA.

So the ability to pull off this trade has nothing to do with agents, at least not yet. It’s considerably more reliant upon the Magic to shape the trade to their liking.

Right now, sources said, that’s not happening.