A Los Angeles area radio host reported on Monday that the Orlando Magic would trade star center Dwight Howard to the New Jersey Nets by Tuesday.
John Ireland, a Lakers reporter and radio host for ESPN 710 Radio, reported that a blockbuster deal sending Howard to the Nets would be completed by Tuesday. A Lakers fan blog, Lakers Nation, noted that Ireland correctly predicted Lebron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat long before an official announcement.
But a New Jersey Nets source told the New York Post that the report was not true. According to the Post, the Nets believe the Magic are unlikely to trade Howard before New Year's and could hold onto the star big man until after the February All-Star break.
The Nets aggressively pursued Howard over the past few weeks -- offering up center Brook Lopez and as many as five first-round draft picks -- but the Magic rejected the offer and decided to pull Howard off the market.
Howard has previously told the Magic that he would like to be traded to the Nets to play with star point guard Deron Williams, but has backed off his stance a bit in the past.
I love this city, there is no place I'd rather be but Orlando, Howard told reporters two weeks ago. I just want to make sure we have the right things here so we can win a championship. I'm all about change. If you're willing to change and you're willing to do what it takes to win then, you know, you got me.
The Magic believe that they can hold onto Howard long-term, despite Howard's past requests to be traded. Howard's agent told the organization that his client prefers to be traded to one of: the Nets, Lakers, or Mavericks.
Before pulling Howard off the market, the Magic insisted that it would be wide open to all offers and wouldn't be limited to the teams that Howard prefers to play for.
The Nets have quite a bit to offer the Magic for Howard, but it'd be hard for anyone to top the Lakers should they decide to part with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Lakers previously had agreed to send Gasol to the Houston Rockets in a proposed three-team deal for Chris Paul, but commissioner David Stern voided the deal.