Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard's preferred landing spots in the event he is traded before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline are the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets or Dallas Mavericks.

But could the Chicago Bulls overtake those teams and pull off a blockbuster deal?

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, they can, but only if Howard is willing to sign long-term if he ends up there. However, while Orlando and Chicago have spoken about a potential trade, they haven't had serious discussions because Chicago isn't on Howard's list of preferred destinations right now and Howard hasn't given definite assurances that his future lies with the Windy City.

When asked at the Magic's shootaround on Thursday at the United Center about the possibility of playing in Chicago, Howard's answer seemed liked another indication that he doesn't prefer Chicago.

Nah, it's pretty cold here, he said to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In addition, Howard, who averages 21 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks a game, may have a problem playing alongside another superstar in Derrick Rose who demands the ball just as much. He has said before that he wants to be the guy on the team that everyone counts on.

Everybody wants to be that guy to take the last shot, Howard said. Be that guy that everybody is leaning on for whatever reason, and I don't think there's any problem for wanting to be that guy.

Berger also reported that if trade talks with the Magic do end up catching fire, the Bulls could offer center Omer Asik, all-star swingman Luol Deng and forward Carlos Boozer and a valuable first-round pick from the Charlotte Bobcats for Howard and forward Hedo Turkoglu.

For now, though, it appears such a package, as enticing as it looks, won't be offered any time soon. Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld tweeted: Sources in Orlando continue to say that the Magic likely won't trade Dwight Howard before the deadline. Ownership isn't ready to move him.

At the same time, that doesn't mean Howard is necessarily still committed to the Magic. Berger reported that one league source said Sunday that Howard is telling everyone he's leaving.

Regardless, the trade deadline is merely hours away, and within that time period, Howard status with the Magic is perhaps affecting how strongly other teams are willing to pull the trigger in making a push to shake things up before Thursday.

Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel Sunday that the team still hasn't made a decision on whether to Howard.

We're not at the point where we're ready to answer that question yet, Martins said. Sometime in the next four days we will be, but we're not at the point where we're ready to answer that question yet.

And so it looks like those other teams will remain in limbo, too.