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Dwight Howard trade: Deal puts Orlando on its own Oklahoma City-style rebuilding plan

OKC MODEL? — In addition to players, Orlando gets three unprotected first-round picks and an opportunity to start over under new general manager Rob Hennigan, a former member of Sam Presti's staff in Oklahoma City.
BY JOSH ROBBINS The Orlando Sentinel Published: August 10, 2012

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

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

The Magic were set to receive Denver shooting guard Arron Afflalo, Denver forward Al Harrington, Philly center Nikola Vucevic, Philadelphia rookie small forward Moe Harkless and one future protected first-round pick from each of the three other teams and perhaps other assets, according to ESPN.

Meanwhile, the deal also would send Orlando swingman Jason Richardson and L.A. center Andrew Bynum to the Sixers and Philly swingman Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets.

Magic general manager Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins did not return messages Thursday from the Orlando Sentinel.

But the deal could leave many Magic fans underwhelmed as the franchise begins a massive rebuilding project.

Earlier Thursday, it appeared that the Magic might receive all-star big man Pau Gasol from the Lakers, but Gasol is no longer in the mix, a league source familiar with the deal told the Sentinel.

In any Howard deal, the Magic wanted to gain draft picks and trade away the long-term salaries of players such as Richardson. But the draft picks will be coming from three teams — the Lakers, Nuggets and Sixers — that are playoff contenders.

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

Magic assistant general manager Scott Perry, a former Detroit Pistons executive, is familiar with Afflalo from Afflalo's tenure with the Pistons. But it's possible that the Magic will attempt to trade Afflalo for other assets.

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

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