Dwight Howard's public plea late Tuesday to remain in Orlando for the rest of the season has only served to anger the Magic and has instead pushed them closer than ever to trading their superstar center, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.
Convinced that Howard, on the advice of his agent, is trying to manipulate the situation, the Magic are telling teams they will trade Howard before Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline if he does not commit to them beyond this season, league sources said.
"Dwight's dreaming if he thinks Orlando won't trade him without a commitment,'' a source said. "He needs to make some small commitment to them. They're saying it can't be one way.''
While the Magic hope Howard will sign a five-year contract extension, they would settle for a commitment from him not to opt out of the final year of his contract.