Dwight Howard opts in, stays with Magic through 2013

Dwight Howard.

The Dwight Howard saga has ended. For one year anyway.

Multiple sources are reporting that Howard has signed his opt in for next season, meaning he won’t be traded before Thursday’s deadline and he will play with the Magic next year as well. Whether he will sign an extension or we will go through this song and dance next year remains to be seen.

Howard had flipped back and forth between wanting to be traded and wanting to stay with Orlando all season. The main target of trade talks has always been the Nets, with the team moving to Brooklyn next season and the allure of teaming up with Deron Williams. Yahoo! Sports reports the teams were exploring trade options as recently as Thursday morning, waiting to make sure Howard signed the termination of his opt out clause.

Howard’s decision to opt in may leave the Nets in shambles.

Williams is a free agent after this season and he has always intimated that he won’t be staying unless he has a star to play with. Rumors have indicated that he would be interested in playing for the Mavericks, his hometown team.

The Nets reportedly traded for Portland guard Gerald Wallace Thursday after hearing Howard will stay in Orlando. Wallace is averaging 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers this season. The Nets will send Shawne Williams, Mehmet Okur and a top-3 protected draft pick in 2012 in return.

Follow Metro New York sports editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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