Denton: Still Quiet on Howard Front

By John Denton
July 13, 2012

ORLANDO – If Rob Hennigan has proven anything in his 23 days on the job as the Orlando Magic’s new General Manager it’s that he isn’t prone to making hurried, rash decisions.

And on Friday, with breathless trade rumors involving Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets continuing to circle, Hennigan once again calmly stood pat.

The youngest GM in the NBA reiterated once again on Friday as the AirTran Pro Summer League wrapped up at the Amway Center that the Magic are in no hurry to make any sort of transactions involving their All-NBA center.

``With anything, patience is important because many times it can lead to good decisions,’’ Hennigan said. ``I think there is a balance between being patient and staying idle. (Staying idle) is not what we’re doing. We’re staying patient and letting the process dictate the pace of things.’’

When the Rockets reportedly readied themselves to wipe power forward Luis Scola off their salary cap books on Thursday with the amnesty clause, reports began to surface that the Magic were close to shipping Howard and a host of long-term contracts to Houston. According to the reports, the trade would allow the Magic to be able to get out from under the long-term commitments to shooting guard Jason Richardson, small forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Quentin Richardson and power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis and also acquire several young players and draft picks.

The deal would seem to satisfy the ``mix’’ that Hennigan has said the Magic might be looking to achieve if they must deal Howard, a six-time all-star. Salary cap space, high draft picks and a host of promising young players could be the Magic’s easiest way to recover if they deem it necessary to dump Howard.

But as of Friday – similarly to Thursday – Hennigan said the franchise was no closer to moving the superstar center.

``What I can tell you is that (Thursday) I told you that nothing is imminent and that’s where we stand today,’’ Hennigan said on Friday. ``We’re still in the same pattern and there’s really nothing new today.’’

That could be the case because Houston is waiting to see if the Chicago Bulls match an offer sheet to center Omer Asik and if the New York Knicks match one given to guard Jeremy Lin. The Knicks have already publicly stated that they intend to keep Lin, but the Bulls have no indication as to whether they are willing to match the three-year, $25.1 million deal that Houston offered Asik before re-entering the Howard sweepstakes.

The Bulls have three days to decide as to whether or not to match on Asik. If they don’t and he becomes a Rocket, it could lessen Houston’s ability to take back contracts from Orlando in a potential Howard deal. If the Magic can’t unload contracts, they might not be as willing to trade Howard.

So for now, the Magic will wait for the process to play out. And, in time, other teams could enter the fray for Howard’s services.

``There’s potential for that, but it hasn’t happened yet,’’ Hennigan said.

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