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.
The Lakers emerged as Howard's preferred trade destination once a potential deal between the Magic and the Brooklyn Nets fell through last month.
Howard would not answer a question about the potential trade to the Lakers when a TMZ paparazzo confronted him Thursday afternoon.
The Magic had showed little interest in acquiring Bynum, who arguably is the NBA's second-best center. Magic officials were concerned about the health of Bynum's knees, and it was unclear whether Bynum would have considered re-signing with the Magic in free agency.
Orlando is scheduled to begin its training camp on Oct. 1. Although Hennigan had not ruled out the possibility of Howard starting camp with the Magic, Howard's presence — and the resulting distractions — would have made it difficult for first-year coach Jacque Vaughn to instill a team-first culture.
The Magic selected Howard out of Southwest Atlanta (Ga.) Christian Academy with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft.
In the eight seasons that followed, he played in the NBA All-Star Game six times, was named first-team All-NBA five consecutive seasons and won the Defensive Player of the Year Award an NBA-record three consecutive seasons.
In 2009, Howard led the Magic on a storybook playoff run, beating the defending champion Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals and LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. The Magic lost in the NBA Finals to the Lakers in five games.
Howard ranks as the Magic's all-time franchise leader in points scored (11,435), rebounds (8,072) and blocked shots (1,344).
It appears now that he'll be doing all those things for the Lakers.