ORLANDO — When Magic star Dwight Howard signed a contract extension in 2007, he joked that he and Mickey Mouse would be in Orlando forever.
Now Howard wants out, putting one of the NBA's most dominant big men on the block at the start of training camp.
Howard acknowledged for the first time Saturday that he has formally requested a trade. It came a day after the team granted the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers permission to talk to Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, about possible deals.
The All-Star center is eligible to opt out of his current contract in July 2012.
Wearing a retro Magic hat, Howard spent a stoic half-hour explaining his reasoning and expressed empathy for a fan base that watched Shaquille O'Neal depart for the Lakers in 1996. Howard likened his trade request to a divorce that only one party wants.
"I've done everything for this city. I don't think people understand the magnitude of love I have just for this city," he said. "It's beyond basketball. I think people, anybody should understand that. For me this has just not been a city I enjoy playing basketball in. I love everybody here, that's why it's been so tough."
He said the decision went deeper than what happened on the court, but he also said recent playoff disappointments played a role. He alluded to the hurt he felt as he watched the Lakers celebrate their 2009 NBA championship on the Magic's home floor.
"I've been back and forth," he said. "Mainly because the people here really care for the city. Nobody's gonna understand that. And if you hate me because of a jersey, then you never really loved me. That's how I feel."
Magic general manager Otis Smith said there is no timetable or deadline for a trade.
TRADE REVIVED: The Hornets' three-team trade with the Lakers and Rockets that would send Chris Paul to Los Angeles was resubmitted to the league office for approval, ESPN reported. The Rockets would still send Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and a 2012 first-round pick to New Orleans and receive Pau Gasol from the Lakers. Changes to the original trade scenario were not immediately available, according to ESPN.com. Commissioner David Stern vetoed Thursday's trade in principle.
CHANDLER TO KNICKS: New York acquired Tyson Chandler from the Mavericks and sent Ronny Turiaf to the Wizards in a three-team trade. The Knicks also waived Chauncey Billups and designated him as their amnesty player. Dallas got reserve guard Andy Rautins from the Knicks.