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Howard was the subject of season-long trade rumors until declaring in February his intention to remain in Orlando for one more year. The controversy continued earlier this month when Van Gundy said Howard asked team management to fire him. Howard has since denied that. Another report from an Orlando television station this week said Howard called Magic owner Rich DeVos to say he was refusing to play for Van Gundy again.

Before this season, Howard had only missed two games in his career because of injury.

Howard is averaging 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds.

The Magic also have been playing without Hedo Turkoglu (facial fracture) since April 5. He’s averaging 10.7 points and is shooting 34.9 percent on 3-pointers.

With Howard and Turkoglu sidelined, Van Gundy has started Glen Davis at center with Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson at forward. J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson start in the backcourt.