The biggest prize on the NBA trade market this year is obviously Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, but he may not actually be available.
Orlando’s ownership is apparently not ready to move its most prized possession. Sources claim that Howard is not likely to be dealt by the deadline because the team just isn’t ready to give him up.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated added that Howard would rather just go to free agency instead of possibly landing with a team that had to gut itself just to acquire him.
Both of those reports fit in with what we’re hearing. Most recently our NBA source closest to the situation claimed the Magic really didn’t know what to do about Howard and were undecided. He also claimed that unless there was a big change, he would have put his money on Howard staying in Orlando through the end of the season.
Another report surfaced yesterday that claims the Magic would like to discuss trade scenarios with the Chicago Bulls, but Howard has no interest in playing there, and his preferred destinations remain the Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.
The problem for the Magic is that they are not impressed with the trade assets the Mavericks, Nets or Lakers can offer in return for Howard and that will likely rule out a deal with any of those teams.
The same report cites a source that says Howard is telling everyone around him that he’s definitely leaving Orlando after the season.
We’ll keep you updated with what we hear regarding Howard, but as things stand it doesn’t look like he will be leaving Orlando this season.