A deal did not appear imminent, but conversations between the Lakers and Magic have become more frequent in recent days, sources said. A number of obstacles need to be resolved, including the Lakers' desire for Howard to commit to a long-term extension with them. Howard has warmed to the possibility of joining the Lakers after spending his offseason in Los Angeles, sources said, but remains apprehensive about following in the footsteps of Shaquille O'Neal, who left the Magic for Los Angeles 16 years ago.
The Magic also are seeking draft picks – in addition to Lakers center Andrew Bynum – as part of a package for Howard. The Lakers have already sent their 2013 and '15 first-round picks to the Phoenix Suns as part of their sign-and-trade deal for Steve Nash. NBA rules forbid teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years.
The Houston Rockets, who have made several roster moves this summer to position themselves for a potential Howard trade, also have continued to talk to the Magic.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike Brown watched free-agent forward Jermaine O'Neal work out in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but no offer was made. Sources said the Lakers could sign Jermaine O'Neal and free-agent forward Antawn Jamison to veteran minimum contracts.
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• O.J. Mayo announces via Twitter that he's signing with the Mavericks
• Patriots reportedly tell Rob Gronkowski to tone down his off-field antics
• Jeff Passan: Confusion rules the day as baseball trade deadline approaches
• Y! Music: Charlie Sheen thinks he can be next 'American Idol' judge