The NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching and there is still no sense that the Dwight Howard sweepstakes is anywhere near an end. If the team plans on trading their superstar, it appears they have no issue taking it down to the very last minute.
Despite Howard's standing trade demand, the Magic have yet to make up their mind on exactly what they are going to do. While they stress on and off the record keeping their superstar in Orlando is their top priority, they are engaging in serious trade talks with 6-8 teams, including many who would simply be renting Howard.
The Magic have let teams know if they moved Howard, they expect to receive a replica of the deal Denver got for Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks last year, according to Ken Berger. That package was a combination of young, inexpensive players and multiple draft picks. The Nuggets have shown over the last year it's the best way to lose a star but still be a playoff contender.
When he was asked (again) on Thursday if he wanted to stay with the Magic, he continued to dance around the issue but did talk about how he has left it all on the court.
"My thing is, like they know, I want to win, and I want to put my team in the best position," Howard said. "I've given Orlando eight hard years. Everything I've got, I've left on the floor, and they all understand that and that's where I keep it. I'm not focused on what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day."
As the deadline draws near, it will be fascinating to see how the Magic play their hand. All signs point to Howard willing to leave money on the table to get to Brooklyn or Dallas in order to play with New Jersey Nets All-Star Deron Williams. Will Orlando, as they've suggested, really try to call his bluff? Or do they get what they can and move on?