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Orlando Magic reportedly reaches deal to trade Dwight Howard to Los Angeles Lakers

ORLANDO — The Magic's Dwightmare appears to be nearing an end.

The Magic, Lakers, Nuggets and 76ers reached a deal in principle on a four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Lakers, ESPN reported late Thursday night.

The Magic was set to receive Nuggets shooting guard Arron Afflalo and forward Al Harrington, 76ers center Nikola Vucevic and rookie small forward Moe Harkless and one future first-round pick from each of the three other teams.

The deal also would send Orlando swingman Jason Richardson and Lakers center Andrew Bynum to the 76ers and Philadelphia swingman Andre Iguodala to Denver.

ESPN reported that a trade call with the league office was scheduled today so the NBA could make the deal official.

Magic general manager Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins did not return messages.

The deal, as reported, will leave many Magic fans underwhelmed. Earlier Thursday, it appeared the Magic might receive All-Star forward/center Pau Gasol from the Lakers, but Gasol is no longer in the mix.

Some NBA observers speculated that the details of talks with the Lakers, Nuggets and Sixers were leaked by the Magic in order to prompt Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to improve his offer for Howard.

In any Howard deal, the Magic wanted to trade away the long-term salaries of such players as Richardson and Chris Duhon.

The Magic would begin a full rebuilding project once its six-time All-Star center is traded, and it seems unlikely Orlando would want Gasol or Afflalo for the long term.

Afflalo, 26, is slated to earn about $31 million the next four seasons if he invokes his player option for the 2015-16 season.

Magic assistant general manager Scott Perry, a former Pistons executive, is familiar with Afflalo from Afflalo's tenure in Detroit.

Howard desperately wants to be traded, and he made that clear to Hennigan during a meeting in Southern California on July 25.

The Lakers have emerged as Howard's preferred trade destination, at least until the Brooklyn Nets can jump back into the picture when Brook Lopez becomes trade-eligible on Jan. 15.

Howard, 26, would not answer a question about the potential trade to the Lakers when a TMZ reporter confronted him Thursday afternoon.

The Magic had shown little interest in Bynum, arguably the NBA's second-best center. Magic officials were concerned about the health of Bynum's knees, and it's unclear whether Bynum would want to re-sign with the Magic in free agency.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, with the U.S. Olympic team in London, was reportedly pleased to have the deal completed without giving up Gasol.

ESPN reported that Howard plans to play out the upcoming season without extending his contract and become a free agent on July 1, 2013. He then could re-sign with the Lakers or join the Mavericks, who will have cap space and were one of his original preferred destinations, along with the Nets and Lakers. Los Angeles has believed that Howard will be won over by its championship culture.

Orlando Magic reportedly reaches deal to trade Dwight Howard to Los Angeles Lakers 08/10/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 12:27am]
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