Dwight Howard has been rumored to be headed to everywhere from Chicago to Los Angeles to New York, but recent reports suggest that if he goes anywhere at the trade deadline it will be to the New Jersey Nets.
Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reported over the weekend that the Magic are insistent on keeping their talented big man, but that the Nets could be the one team to pry him away from Orlando. The Nets have long been Howard's preferred destination because of point guard Deron Williams and the impending move to Brooklyn, but the Magic have resisted the Nets' trade proposals.
The Nets have been willing to part with center Brook Lopez, who recently returned from an injured right foot, and multiple first-round draft picks in order to acquire Howard. The Orlando Sentinel reported last week that the Magic don't really want Brook Lopez in Dwight deal but realize that the amount of talented big men is limited.
The Nets have a sense of urgency about acquiring Howard - SI reported that Nets general manager Billy King believes acquiring Howard for the long haul is much more likely through a trade than free agency - especially because the arrival of Howard would likely convince Williams to sign a long-term deal of his own with the Nets. The Nets acquired Williams in a mid-season deal last year, but could lose him to impending free agency if they don't do something to improve their downtrodden team.
Despite the Nets best efforts to make a move for Howard, the Magic are hopeful that the longer they wait, the more likely it is for them to convince Howard to sign a long-term deal to stay in Orlando.
Magic CEO Alex Martins told Yahoo Sports on Friday that the organization was hopeful to be able to hold onto the face of their franchise for the long haul.
We've had good conversations with him and with his people, Martins told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. That gives me hope.
The Lakers are another team that has long been rumored to be interested in Howard, but SI reported that they keep coming up with all sorts of deal-breaking complications. It has also been reported that Howard has soured on the idea of heading to Los Angeles after Kobe Bryant told him he'd be the second or third option on a championship Lakers team.
The NBA trade deadline is March 15th.