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Dwight Howard Officially a Magician Until 2013

According to various reports, Dwight Howard has officially removed the early termination option language from his contract, meaning he'll remain with the Orlando Magic through summer 2013. Prior to yesterday, there had been rampant speculation that the New Jersey Nets were in the lead to acquire Howard either through trade or during this summer's free agency, and while the former is still a possibility, the latter has now been ruled out.

While there probably aren't any direct Hornet implications (outside of how the complex Chris Kaman trade situation was likely also affected by the Dwight Howard market in terms of potential interest from teams like the Warriors), the league-wide effect is pretty clear. Howard and Chris Paul will both now be unrestricted free agents (without opt-out clauses, as each was scheduled to have this summer) in 2013, giving big market teams like Dallas, the Lakers, or the Nets a whole year to re-work their respective cap structures.

It's also worth mentioning, of course, that what's transpired with Howard and the Magic would have been the dream scenario with Chris Paul - hang onto the player until the trade deadline and hope he agreed to another year. The Magic, despite highly questionable decisions including a trade of Brandon Bass for the far inferior Glen Davis, have achieved that goal, at least for now.