Magic: Howard saga could go 'to end of the season'

By the Associated Press | December 14, 2011 | 6:07 PM EST

Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard jokes around while posing for a photo during the team's NBA basketball media day, Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Magic general manager Otis Smith says the team's goal remains to keep Dwight Howard in a Magic uniform as long as they possibly can and that the trade talks "could go to the end of the season."

Smith would not say Wednesday whether trade talks for the center are off, but did say there was no deal in place. Smith says "right now we still have him in a Magic uniform, and that's where we expect him to be until that changes."

Howard confirmed over the weekend that he had requested a trade to New Jersey, Dallas or the Los Angeles Lakers. The 26-year-old center has publicly softened his stance, saying he would be amenable to remaining in Orlando.

Howard says the process has been a "roller coaster."