With the Magic in the midst of several different trade rumors, most of which are centered around Gilbert Arenas, many are wondering why the Arenas rumors have popped back up.
Of course, Orlando’s recent struggles combined with the rise of the Miami Heat and the consistency of the Boston Celtics seems like reason enough to strike deal but there is apparently more to it.
A source close to the situation indicates Dwight Howard has been pushing the Magic to make moves.
Howard can become a free agent after the 2012 season so he obviously has leverage in the situation.
This should come as no surprise – it was rumored Howard pushed for a potential trade for Chris Paul during the summer and we’ve known about his close relationship with Carlos Boozer for some time.
Update: Alex Kennedy of Hoops World is hearing the same thing.
One league source believes the roster changes in Orlando are being made to appease Dwight Howard, who hasn’t been in a rush to sign a contract extension with the organization. Howard could opt out of his contract after next season and the Magic will do whatever it takes to keep their franchise player happy.
“I think they know they have to make a play since Dwight will be a free agent soon,” said one source.
Howard has an increased interest in larger markets after witnessing the opportunities and advantages available to players in those situations, according to sources. The Magic feel that they have to win and keep Howard happy otherwise he may join the group of superstars that have recently changed addresses.
Over the summer, Howard reportedly gave Smith a list of players he would like to see on his team. While none of the players on the list, which included names such as Carlos Boozer and Chris Paul, ended up in Orlando, the center continues to influence decisions made by the front office.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080′s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).