by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

Despite the latest rumors indicating otherwise, nothing has changed for Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. The end of that partnership is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when.

According to the superstar center, the Magic are unlikely to trade him prior to next month’s All-Star Game (which is in Orlando), and may hold out all season long in the hopes of convincing him to stick around long-term.

Per Yahoo! Sports:

Howard has not rescinded his trade request, but he [said] he thinks there’s a “100 percent” chance the Magic won’t trade him before the Feb. 26 All-Star Game at the team’s Amway Center. Team officials still hope to convince Howard to commit to staying with the franchise for the long term.

“I don’t think they are going to do anything right now because we’re winning,” Howard said after a 104-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings improved the Magic’s record to 6-3. “Even if this is the last season, let’s go out hard, regardless.” When asked if he expects Orlando to trade him by the NBA’s March 15 deadline, Howard said: “I don’t think so.”

GM Otis Smith and the rest of the Orlando Magic front-office would be almost insane to let Dwight Howard become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and risk losing their franchise player for nothing. They’re clearly not a title-contending team (and certainly aren’t building one), and Howard has given zero indication that he intends to stay.

Dwight may be right in that he won’t be traded in the coming weeks, but one has to reasonably assume that he’ll be wearing a different uniform well before next season.