This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.
Tony Parker had 31 points and 12 assists, and Tim Duncan had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Spurs closed a seven-game home stand by defeating the Orlando Magic 122-111 on Wednesday night.
Jameer Nelson scored 25 points and had seven assists, while Dwight Howard had 22 points and 12 rebounds on the eve of the NBA trade deadline.
Parker whose averaging 29.8 points in his past four games, was serenaded by chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” in the closing minutes.
Magic spokesman George Galante confirmed that Howard informed the team before Wednesday night’s game against the Spurs that he will not waive the early termination clause in his contact, which would have guaranteed Howard sticking around at least one more season.
Howard said publicly this week he wants to finish the season in Orlando and encouraged the front office to “roll the dice” on re-signing him this summer. The Magic, however, are looking for stronger assurances they can realistically hang onto the NBA’s most dominant big man.
Howard did not speak to reporters before the game amid talk of him calling a team meeting earlier in San Antonio to discuss his future. Neither general manager Otis Smith nor team president Alex Martins made the trip to Texas.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy batted down pregame questions about Howard’s meeting.
“I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s so tiresome,” Van Gundy said. “I’ve been dealing with this for three months. Nothing’s fresh to me. Talk to somebody else about it.”
Ryan Anderson added 19 for Orlando and Hedo Turkoglu scored 17.
The Magic are 28-16 and seven games behind first-place Chicago. Howard is averaging 21.2 points and a career-best 15.2 rebounds.
Manu Ginobili returned to the bench while recovering from a hip flexor, scored 14 points in 23 minutes. Tiago Splitter and rookie Kawhi Leonard had 12 points apiece and Richard Jefferson added 11 points.
The Spurs have their own trade-deadline decision to make — The abrupt retirement of T.J. Ford this week leaves San Antonio thin at the point guard position, and the adding another big man will probably help them in preparation for the playoffs.
The likelihood of a Spurs trade, however, is dim with the team already paying the NBA’s luxury tax.
The team’s best chance to improve their roster this season is to look closely on the waiver wire and perhaps snatch a player or two to give their lineup added depth.
San Antonio will return to action on Friday night when they visit the West-leading Oklahoma City Thunder.