Brian Schmitz, the longtime Magic writer turned columnist, thinks the Magic could simply let Dwight Howard sit around for the rest of the season, not deal him at the deadline, and let him become a free agent rather than trading him for a mediocre package. Schmitz also suggests the Magic would then turn to Brook Lopez with their new cap space.
If the Magic did that, the consequences for Howard would be enormous. If he's traded to another team by the deadline, he could sign a new contract for $109 million over five years come July 1. If he becomes a free agent after the season, his contract options are more limited. In fact, he might have to leave $25+ million on the table in a new deal with the Nets or Lakers.
Schmitz also reports the Lakers have yet to get back to Otis Smith on his proposal of Howard for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Finally, he notes that taking back the onerous contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon is not necessarily a requirement.
GM Otis Smith isn't entirely sold on trading Dwight Howard just to trade him - Brian Schmitz - Orlando Sentinel.