Suddenly, the Orlando Magic sound like they won’t trade Dwight Howard

We heard months and months of speculation about when and where the Orlando Magic might trade Dwight Howard. To many of us, it was a foregone conclusion that Howard’s days in a Magic jersey were numbered. But right around the All Star break, something apparently changed. Something has made the Magic believe that they can keep him long term and most importantly, something has made Dwight Howard pause in his pursuit of getting out of Orlando.

As recently as just a couple of weeks ago, before the All-Star break, Dwight Howard seemed hell-bent on wanting to become a free agent in July. All indications were that Howard would exercise the early termination clause in his contract after this season, even if he was going to be traded, and then invite NBA teams to make their best recruiting pitches to him this summer.

But in recent days there has been an unmistakable, though generalized, shift in tone.

Howard has indicated publicly that he has not made up his mind about his future. Most recently, he seemed to indicate that the Magic might, just might, make some changes that would make him more likely to stay with the franchise. There even is talk that Howard might decide not to opt out of the final year of his contract and then spend the 2012-13 season with the Magic with his long-term future just as it is now: unresolved.

Of course, the Magic are playing with fire here, but you really can’t blame them. If Dwight wants to go, he should firmly tell the Magic that and stop with this waffling back and forth. And until that happens, the Magic would be crazy to just trade him away for peanuts.

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