- Ric Bucher, NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer
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After several months of trying to trade Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan called the All-Star center Wednesday night to see if he'd reconsider giving Hennigan and the Magic's new regime a chance to keep Howard in Orlando, a source close to Howard said.
Hennigan's call came several hours after the Brooklyn Nets, the team to which Howard asked Hennigan to trade him, made a futile last-gasp attempt to deal for him before the Charlotte Bobcats could sign one of the Nets' key trade chips, center Brook Lopez, to an offer sheet.
Lopez agreed to a new contract with the Nets on Wednesday night. Terms of the contract have not been disclosed, but a league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo that Lopez, a restricted free agent, agreed to a four-year, $60 million max deal.
Hennigan, the source said, based his plea on the fact that he was new to the organization and had not been party to the issues that drove Howard to make his trade request.
Team president Alex Martins, who also was on the call, the source said, made a similar plea to Howard last winter when Martins took control of basketball decisions over GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy.
Howard was not willing to change his stance, the source said.
"I already heard that from the other guy on the phone," said Howard, according to the source.
Before agreeing to a new contract with Lopez, the Nets offered four future first-round picks, Lopez and power forward Kris Humphries in sign-and-trade deals plus $3 million to acquire Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark, the source said.
That offer was rejected by the Magic, who did not want Humphries and also wanted to unload Quentin Richardson. Brooklyn's sign-and-trade proposal would have involved Humphries signing a heavily front-loaded multiyear contract, with only the first-year salary fully guaranteed.
Without a third team to take Humphries, the Nets had no choice but to reject the Magic's counteroffer and extend Lopez, who cannot be traded until Jan. 15 because of the new collective bargaining agreement's rules.
"We've moved on. It just got to a point where we couldn't keep going back and forth with Orlando," a Nets source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor. "They had about 14 days to do something and didn't. We just had to move on, and we felt that way this morning."
57mMichael C. Wright