Dwight Howard meets with Magic, reiterates trade demand

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Orlando doesn’t like what they are being offered back in trade offers for six-time All Star Dwight Howard, the best center walking the planet.

So new general manager Rob Hennigan made a smart move, he flew out to Los Angeles where Howard is rehabbing his back injury to try and talk the center into staying in Orlando. Howard is good enough that it’s worth the effort. They met on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

How’d that go? Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM has good sources in the Howard camp and wrote this:

Howard was staunch in his stance and again made it clear to Hennigan that he has no desire to return to Orlando. He told the 30-year-old general manager that he would “never sign another contract with the Magic,” sources tell RealGM….

The scenarios Howard was open to during the meeting were: An immediate trade to the Lakers, a January trade to the Brooklyn Nets or a clean break at the end of the 2012-13 season. But he was clear that he would not return to the Magic, choosing to leave as a free agent after the season, sources told RealGM.

Well, Howard learned a lesson from the trade deadline and is being direct now. At least we have that.

But the Magic are not getting the offers they want. Here is a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network.

Orlando officials have repeatedly told people they want the kind of knockout package Denver received for Anthony, but will it present self?

Orlando’s problem is James Dolan doesn’t own the Lakers and isn’t there to overrule his GM and make a much larger offer than had been on the table.

The Lakers are smarter than that. It is no coincidence that on this same day, word leaked out of the Lakers that they have started some level of talks with Andrew Bynum and his agent about an extension or long-term deal with the team. That’s just good poker. Or negotiations. The Lakers don’t need this deal, their fallback is to have Bynum, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol all come to training camp, they are title contenders with that group.

So, we are back to square one. Orlando is looking for a deal it likes.

For the record, the Magic couldn’t give a crap where Howard wants to be traded, if the Rockets can offer the best deal as a rental he’s gone. (And that would put Howard in the awkward spot of having to play for the Rockets, become a free agent and start the circus all over again, creating another PR disaster.)

Can you imagine what a disaster it would be for Orlando to bring Howard into training camp this fall? But if they are insistent on a better offer, they may have to, because one is not about to materialize right now.

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.