Orlando – It was not a good sign for the Magic when a representative for Dwight Howard announced that Howard was postponing his fifth annual youth basketball camp, scheduled for July 1-2 at the University of Central Florida.
The news would not have caused much of a stir ordinarily except for the kids who were scheduled to attend the camp. But Howard’s silence about his future in Orlando has led to considerable speculation about his intentions.
Most people believe he will be traded soon, possibly as early as the end of June during the NBA draft.
Howard who requested a trade early last season, has expressed displeasure with the team’s direction several times. His unhappiness led to distractions for the franchise throughout the season, something the Magic have vowed to avoid next season.
Unless he agrees to a long-term extension, the Magic likely will trade him and will begin a rebuilding project.
The Magic are scheduled to select 19th in the draft, but that position could change dramatically if Howard is part of a trade. Teams at the top of the draft, though, probably would want him to commit to a long-term contract, which he has been unwilling to do.
The Magic would love to land guard Austin Rivers of Duke, who went to high school locally, but they would have to move up several spots to get him.
Howard had surgery to repair a herniated disk, and he has remained in Los Angeles doing rehabilitation. He did not return to Orlando to watch the playoff series with the Pacers.
The Magic did fire coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith in hopes of placating Howard, but he has offered no indication that he would sign an extension.