Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith confirms to the Sentinel that superstar center Dwight Howard has formally requested a trade from the team (a couple of times, in fact): “Smith said Howard has made the request twice in separate conversations since Monday. Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, didn’t immediately return a phone message for comment. Smith emphasized that the Magic want to keep Howard long-term, and he added that Howard and his camp haven’t told the team that he definitely will not remain with the franchise. Indeed, Smith repeated what Magic officials have said for days: that the team will make every effort to keep the All-NBA First Team center. ‘We wouldn’t be who we are if we don’t take a look around all 29 teams and try to make the best deal for the Orlando Magic,’ Smith said. ‘He can have his list of teams that he would like to go to, and we’ve probably got a few on our list of teams that we would like. But at the end of the day, we want him here and we want him in a Magic uniform for his career. With that said, we’re going to make the best possible deal that we can make if we have to trade him.’ On Friday, Smith gave Howard’s camp permission to have contact with officials from three teams — the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Jersey Nets — and seek a trade. After the Magic completed their first training-camp practice Friday, Howard was asked what his long-term plans are. He mostly evaded the questions. Asked if he can see himself staying with the Magic for the entire 2011-12 season, he responded: ‘As of right now, I’m here. Like I’ve said, that’s the only thing that matters, and that’s it.’”

UPDATE: According to Yahoo! Sports, Dwight Howard is seeking a trade to the New Jersey Nets: “Los Angeles had long been a preferred choice of Howard’s, but sources say that several factors have pushed him toward the Nets over the Lakers. Howard has a strong relationship with Deron Williams, and has also resisted following the same career path as Shaquille O’Neal, who left the Magic for the Lakers two decades ago. The Nets are offering a package centered on Brook Lopez, and multiple first-round picks, sources said. New Jersey could also be looking for deals to sweeten its offer to Orlando. The Nets have been determined to make a deal for Howard, one of the league’s most dominant players, to be a centerpiece for them as the move into the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn next season. Howard could pair with All-Star point guard Deron Williams to make the Nets instant Eastern Conference contenders. The Magic are still focused on a possible trade to the Lakers, sources said, for a package that would include Andrew Bynum. The Magic want to unload Hedo Turkoglu in any deal that includes Howard. The Nets, flush with salary cap space, would likely take Turkoglu into a deal. Howard prefers to the Nets over the Lakers, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he would sign a long-term extension with L.A. should he be traded there.”