Howard Says He Won’t Waive Right to Free Agency as Trade Awaits

Dwight Howard may be traded after telling the Orlando Magic he won’t waive the right to end his contract and become a free agent after this season.

Howard, who has been an All-Star the past six seasons, told the club yesterday he won’t void an early termination option in his deal, George Galante, a spokesman for the Magic, said in an e-mail.

The team has said that without such a waiver, it expects to move the three-time National Basketball Association Defensive Player of the Year before the trade deadline at 3 p.m. New York time today.

Howard, 26, said this season he’d like to be traded to the New Jersey Nets. He said two days ago that he’d like to finish this season in Orlando. The Magic would be unlikely to allow him to do that unless they had proof he wouldn’t depart after the season as a free agent, leaving them nothing in return.

Howard had 22 points and 12 rebounds in the Magic’s 122-111 loss at the San Antonio Spurs last night.

The 6-foot-11 center, who was the top selection in the 2004 NBA draft, has career averages of 18.4 points and 13 rebounds per game. This season, while leading the NBA in minutes played, he’s averaging more than 21 points and 15 rebounds per contest.

With Howard at center, the Magic reached the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. The team’s best finish was a 4-1 NBA Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at rgloster@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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