Magic playing with fire not trading Howard

Magic centre Dwight Howard tries to battle past Heat forward Chris Bosh in Miami, Fla., March 3,...

Magic centre Dwight Howard tries to battle past Heat forward Chris Bosh in Miami, Fla., March 3, 2011. (JOE SKIPPER/Reuters)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

TORONTO - If the Chris Paul trade drama taught us anything it was even when something is dead, it can be revived, but for now it appears the Dwight Howard trade talk is indeed dead.

Howard, who reiterated his desire to be traded on Tuesday, has been taken off the trading block by the Orlando Magic.

According to Yahoo Sports, Magic GM Otis Smith has told interested teams that Howard is no longer on the market.

The plan in Orlando is to begin the year with Howard in the fold.

Obviously talks could re-open at any point but if the Magic do end the season with Howard still on the roster, they risk the very real chance of seeing him walk away as a free agent with nothing coming back in return.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski was reporting on Thursday that the framework of a three-team deal involving the Magic, New Jersey, and Portland that would have landed Howard in Jersey, one of his desired destinations, had been established before Smith made the decision to close down talks.

In that deal, Howard would have gone to New Jersey along with Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Duhon. The Magic would get New Jersey centre Brook Lopez, Portland forward Gerald Wallace, Jersey point guard Jordan Farmar and a first draft-round pick. The Trail Blazers would have received four draft picks for Wallace.

CRAWFORD TO BLAZERS

It appears the Portland Trail Blazers have found the answer to the unfortunate news that Brandon Roy’s had to prematurely retire.

His name is Jamal Crawford and he passed up an opportunity to join the New York Knicks (which couldn’t offer him the big money having already spent just about everything) and the Sacramento Knicks to become a Blazer.

While the deal has yet to be finalized, Crawford spilled the news on his Twitter account. The Blazers are expected to use the amnesty provision to waive Roy and open up cap space to sign Crawford.

In 11 seasons, Crawford has average 15.2 points a game and is as streaky (not to mention deadly) a three-point shooter as the NBA has to offer.

SOME RAPTORS TIDBITS

Power forward James Johnson has caught the eye of Raptors head coach Dwane Casey over the past couple of days. “I think James Johnson has had two excellent days,” Casey said Thursday. “Rasual Butler has come in and given him excellent competition. I like his veteran leadership and approach. But James has really, really buckled down defensively the past two days. In one drill yesterday he had five deflections which is huge. Johnson right now in my book has played the best (of the Raps options at the three).

On a less positive note point guard Anthony Carter did not practice yesterday. According to Casey he has a sore left shoulder. Casey did say the injury was not believed to be serious and he still expects to use Carter Sunday when the Raptors play their first of two exhibition games against the Boston Celtics. Sunday’s game is at the ACC. The two teams meet again Wednesday in Boston.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

It’s official. The Chicago Bulls have added Rip Hamilton to the roster. Hamilton leaves Detroit to join the hard-charging and likely playoff-bound Bulls. “They were already a great team before me, and I felt it was an opportunity where I could help,” Hamilton said. He signed a three-year $15-million deal with the team holding the option on the third year ... The Cleveland Cavaliers amnestied the final two years of point guard Baron Davis’ contract yesterday freeing up $28-million in cap space ... Forward Travis Outlaw got the same amnesty treatment in New Jersey opening a spot on the roster for the Nets to sign Shawne Williams and keep him from the Knicks ... The Mavericks waived guard Andy Rautins, son of Raptors broadcaster and former NBA player Leo Rautins five days after he was acquired in the three-team trade that sent Tyson Chandler to the Knicks ... This comes via Andrea Bargnani’s Twitter account: “I’ve been very busy with training camp, didn’t have much time to watch the news. But I’ve heard that Spadina station is a lot of fun. LOL.


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