Hawks general manager Danny Ferry acknowledged trade discussions with the Orlando Magic regarding Dwight Howard but said that Orlando was not very interested in dealing the All-Star center to a team within its own division.
Danny Ferry to— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) August 10, 2012
@jeffschultzajc: "We had discussions with Orl about Dwight Howard. They were apprehensive to trade him within the division."
While its unclear how far the Hawks and Magic got in trade discussions it was always highly unlikely that the Hawks would think about trading Al Horford in a package for Howard without some sort of indication that Howard would re-sign with Atlanta at the end of the season.
Ferry's cost cutting moves have cleared enough space for the team to make a max offer to Howard once he becomes a free agent in 2013.