According to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, Orlando is telling rival executives that Howard might not be traded after all. An executive who has had discussions with the Magic regarding Howard reportedly said they will only trade the six-time All-Star in a deal that's great for the franchise — a stance they've reportedly had for a "week or so."
There is definitely the possibility that this is all an effort by Orlando to gain leverage in ongoing negotiations. Perhaps by stating that Howard won't be dealt, a team will finally offer up what the Magic are looking for in exchange for their star center.
Broussard reports, however, that another executive who has talked with Orlando said he thinks the Magic may start the season with Howard and wait until the trade deadline in February to move him.
Holding onto Howard until February perhaps could land the Magic a better deal, but it's hard to imagine the big man returning to Orlando after everything that's gone on this offseason. Last season wasn't pretty in its own right, and that was before the saga really kicked into high gear.
The overriding sense, according to Broussard, is that Howard may not be moved for weeks, if not months.
And here we thought — or at least hoped — the end was near.