Magic GM Otis Smith confirmed to ESPN the Magazine on Friday night that he granted permission to Fegan to speak to the Nets about a deal involving Howard.
Fegan read the following prepared statement over the phone to The Magazine: "I read reports today of a meeting between Dwight Howard, his representatives and the New Jersey Nets which claimed, according to the story's anonymous sources, that such a meeting violated the NBA's tampering policies. This story is clearly inaccurate with respect to tampering claims and other facts. Tampering doesn't apply once a team grants permission for a player and/or his representatives to make contact with another team. The Magic have given us permission to have contact with several teams in order for Dwight to explore his options. I most definitely had contact with the teams I was granted permission to speak with. Since we had permission to have contact with several teams the report of possible tampering is undeniably false.
"In addition, the report that Dwight was supposed to be traded today is also inaccurate. In fact, so many of the facts reported in today's story are inaccurate, it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction, so I'm not even going to bother to address the other inaccuracies."
Fegan said both he and Howard have spoken by phone with the Nets but no face-to-face meeting has occurred.
An agent not affiliated with Fegan or his agency, LaGardere Unlimited, said such contact between stars and potential trade partners is standard before such deals are consummated.
"No team would think of acquiring a star of Dwight's magnitude without talking to him first," the agent said, who asked to remain anonymous. Sources said New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul had such conversations with both the Lakers and Clippers, two teams interested in acquiring him, in the last week.
Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins told the Associated Press the Magic have not filed tampering charges with the NBA against any team for interference with Howard.
Sources said the Nets are one of three teams Howard would be interested in joining if they can make an equitable deal with the Magic to acquire him, but that the Nets, for the moment, appear to be the favorite. The other two teams were not identified.
Fegan, Howard and the Magic were committed to quietly determining where the Magic center might go to avoid the media attention that Paul received in recent weeks and Carmelo Anthony endured last winter when he left the Denver Nuggets for the New York Knicks.
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
79 26.7 7.5 7.0 .510 .759
Basketball (commonly nicknamed "B-ball" or "hoops") is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports.
A regulation basketball hoop consists of a rim 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to a backboard. A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the hoop during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the hoop than the three-point line, and three points (a "3 pointer") if the player is "outside" the three-point line. The team with more points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the game ends with a tie. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running (dribbling) or passing it to a teammate. It is a violation (traveling) to walk with the ball, carry it, or to double dribble (to hold the ball and then resume dribbling).
Various violations are generally called "fouls". Disruptive physical contact (a personal foul) is penalized, and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball. A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly for unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a player or coach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw.
Basketball has evolved many commonly used techniques of shooting, passing, and dribbling, as well as specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning) and techniques. Typically, the tallest members of a team will play "center", "small forward", or "power forward" positions, while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play "point guard" or "shooting guard".
While competitive basketball is carefully regulated, numerous variations of basketball have developed for casual play. Competitive basketball is primarily an indoor sport played on carefully marked and maintained basketball courts, but less regulated variations are often played outdoors in both inner city and rural areas.