Smith: Goal is to keep D-12 in Orlando

The Magic want to keep superstar center Dwight Howard. GM Otis Smith made that abundantly clear Wednesday.

“Our goal is to keep 12 in a Magic uniform for the rest of his career,” Smith said, according to NBA.com. “We’re moving toward that end.”

However ...

“If that's not the case, we will do what we have to.”

However ...

“That doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to listen to everything that Dwight has to say and placate to that.”

However ...

“We've done everything we're supposed to do in seven years. At the end of the day it comes down to him.”

So what does all this mean?

Howard can opt out at the end of the season. He probably will. When he does, the Magic risk losing him for nothing. Can they afford to do that?

Probably not.

That’s why teams like the Nets and Lakers can continue to hold out hope that things will change. Until Howard signs the dotted line on a contract extension in Orlando, there's no reason not to.