Besides Jeremy Lin, the biggest story of the NBA Season has been an off-the-court one.

Dwight Howard trade rumors have loomed over the Magic and the entire league since he requested a trade in December.

It seems like every day there is a different story saying Howard will either be moved, or that he has decided to stay in Orlando.

The Magic have yet to agree to Howard's wishes, and still hope to sign the center to a long term deal.

The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and if the two sides can't agree on a contract extension, any team with enough cap space will have the chance to sign the star in the summer.

With time running out, should the Magic trade Howard, or keep him and hope for the best?

Why the Magic Should Trade Howard

The odds don't look good for Howard deciding to sign with the Magic in the offseason. He asked for a trade before the season began, and still hasn't backed off his demands. The All-Star has made it pretty clear that he wants to play in a bigger market.

It will really hurt the franchise if Orlando doesn't get anything in return for Howard. They just have to look at Cleveland and Toronto as recent examples.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh both signed with the Heat in 2010 when their respective teams decided not to trade them during the season.

The following season, the Cavs and Raptors finished with the two worst records in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are still struggling this season and remain out of the playoff race.

The NBA is unlike any other sport. Losing one player can change the entire complexion of a team.  

If the Magic can convince Howard to stay, they should sign him to a long term deal. But at a certain point, they have to be honest with themselves and realize that the chances of the star staying in Orlando are very slim.

If they lose him to free agency, Orlando will rue the day they decided not to trade Howard for a proven All-Star. Paul Gasol and Monta Ellis may not be as good as D12, but they are good NBA players. Even a package of young players and draft picks might suffice.

The Nuggets are a prime example of why the Magic should trade Howard before the deadline. Denver dealt Carmelo Anthony at mid-season last year and they have played even better since making the trade. The Nuggets made the playoffs in 2011 and would be in the postseason if the season ended today.

The Jazz also made out pretty well after trading Deron Williams to the Nets. They have overachieved this year and have a good core of young players for the future.

In an ideal world, Howard would stay in Orlando for the rest of his career. However, it might be time for the Magic to make the best of a bad situation.

Why the Magic Shouldn't Trade Howard

Players like Howard don't come along often. He is the best center in the league and one of the most talented players the NBA has seen in recent years. Orlando had to finish with the worst record in the NBA to draft Howard.

They don't want to have to go through that again.

Howard would like to be traded, but he has left the door open for the possibility of staying in Orlando. If the Magic are able to improve the team and become a championship contender, it could go a long way in making sure Howard decides not to leave.

One report says the center asked Orlando to trade for Steve Nash. If making a trade to appease Howard might keep him in Florida, the Magic should considering doing it.

When you have a player as good as Howard, you should do whatever you can to keep him.

Even if the Magic aren't able to make a trade that Howard likes, there's still a chance he will sign with Orlando in the offseason.

The Magic may not be in the biggest market, and they may not have the best roster. But they have one thing that nobody else has-they can offer Howard more money than anybody else.

Because of the new collective bargaining agreement that was drawn up during the lockout, Orlando can offer Howard $30 million more than any other team.

Competing for a championship in a big city is important to players, but not as much as money. It's almost unheard off for any professional athletes to leave $30 million on the table and play somewhere else.

Of course Howard wants to be traded. If he's moved during the season, whatever team acquires him can give him more money than anybody else. If the Magic don't move Howard, his tune might quickly change.

Sure, it would be risky to not trade Howard. But when it comes to the best center in the game, it might be a risk worth taking.