Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard has told several teammates, as well as members of the Orlando Magic organization, that he will not opt out of his contract at the end of this season, sources close to the situation said.

That would mean Howard would remain under contract in Orlando through the 2012-2013 season.

Howard has not signed a waiver of his early termination option at this point, which means nothing is guaranteed yet. Both Howard and his representation must sign the documentation.

This latest development comes one day after league sources with knowledge of the situation said Howard’s public plea late Tuesday to remain in Orlando for the rest of the season only served to anger the Magic and has pushed them closer than ever to trading their superstar center.

Convinced that Howard, on the advice of his agent, is trying to manipulate the situation, the Magic are telling teams they will trade Howard before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline if he does not commit to them beyond this season, league sources said.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine