The Magic abruptly pulled Dwight Howard off the trade market Wednesday in the midst of discussions with other teams, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Magic have decided that none of the various offers they've received, most notably from the Nets and Lakers, is worth executing.
So the Magic, sources said, began informing teams Wednesday that they're no longer fielding calls for the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Earlier Wednesday, ESPN.com reported that the Nets and Magic were in advanced discussions on a multi-team deal that would have paired Trail Blazers swingman Gerald Wallace with Nets center Brook Lopez as the two main players Orlando would have received in a trade package for Howard in addition to future draft considerations and the right to shed the long-term contracts of Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon.
Yet sources say that Magic officials, after consultation with ownership Wednesday, decided to stick to their belief that they can still win Howard over and convince him to extend his contract despite Howard's repeated vows to opt for free agency in July. New Magic CEO Alex Martins, promoted to the position after last week's surprising resignation of Bob Vander Weide, insisted as much to reporters Monday, saying that the organization was not yet prepared to field offers for the All-Star center.
"I'm an optimist," Martins said. "I am confident that we can work with Dwight and convince him to stay here long term."
That hasn't stopped the Brooklyn-bound Nets from continuing to lob trade pitches at the Magic. Sources say they were prepared to include five future first-round picks in the deal to satisfy both the Magic and the Blazers, who wanted multiple first-rounders in exchange for surrendering Wallace and facilitating the trade. The Nets, sources said, offered to sweeten the deal for Orlando and Portland by including their own first-round picks in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 as well as a 2012 first-rounder previously acquired from Houston.