The Magic are set to receive Denver shooting guard Arron Afflalo, Denver power forward Al Harrington, Philly center Nikola Vucevic, Philadelphia rookie small forward Moe Harkless and at least one future protected first-round pick from each of the three other teams and perhaps other assets, ESPN reported late Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Sixers would receive Orlando swingman Jason Richardson and L.A. center Andrew Bynum, while the Nuggets would receive Philly swingman Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets. Magic point guard Chris Duhon told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday morning that he definitely will be included in the deal, and it appears he will be sent to the Lakers along with power forward Earl Clark.
Magic general manger Rob Hennigan and CEO Alex Martins did not respond to messages Thursday from the Sentinel. The complicated trade could be approved by the league as early as Friday, but any deal would be contingent on Howard passing a physical.
The proposed trade would inaugurate a massive rebuilding project for the Magic — a rebuilding project that could take years to complete and could require significant luck in the NBA’s draft lottery, in addition to skillful drafting.
New Magic coach Jacque Vaughn kept mostly mum Friday morning when he was asked about the trade on the Open Mike radio show.
“Well, you know, I’m still trying to keep my job this first month and not get fined, so I can’t deny or confirm that,” Vaughn said. “We’ll hold to what we talked about earlier this in year, and that’s doing what’s in the best interests of this ballclub and having people here that want to be here, and that won’t change.”
The four-team deal appears to have left many Magic fans underwhelmed judging by their reactions on social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Earlier Thursday, it appeared that the Magic could 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.
The Magic wanted to gain draft picks and trade away the long-term salaries of players such as Richardson and Duhon. But the protected draft picks will be coming from three teams — the Lakers, Nuggets and Sixers — that are playoff contenders.
Afflalo, 26, is slated to earn about $31 million over the next four seasons if he invokes his player option for the 2015-16 season.
Afflalo tweeted about the pending trade early Friday morning. He wrote: "Orlando .... above all i love this game .... destiny and opportunity ... excited".
Harrington, 32, is owed about $6.7 million this upcoming season. His salary of $7,148,600 for 2013-14 and $7,609,800 for 2014-15 are only 50 percent guaranteed, according to the website ShamSports.com.
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 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 next summer.
Orlando is scheduled to begin its training camp 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 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.