HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If Dwight Howard is indeed planning on leaving Orlando for greener pastures, the Orlando Magic don’t plan on making it easy for him to leave.
The Magic, with just a couple of weeks left to make a trade that might convince the free-agent-to-be Howard to stay, are reportedly making the moves necessary to convince the league’s best big man that he can reach all of his goals in a Magic uniform.
Instead of pursuing deals for Howard, ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard is reporting that they are pursuing deals to surround Howard with the sort of talent (Golden State’s Monta Ellis) to compete with the Heat and Bulls for the top spot in the Eastern Conference:
Howard has long mentioned Ellis, who is the seventh leading scorer in the league with a 22.2 points average, as someone he would love to play with.
Golden State is willing to listen to the Magic about a potential trade for its shooting guard, but there is little on Orlando’s roster that appeals to the Warriors, according to sources.
Thus, the sides are not close to having the parameters of a deal in place. Instead, Orlando will begin looking for other clubs to get involved in a three-or four-team deal that would satisfy the Warriors and bring Ellis to Orlando.
Golden State’s greatest desire is to add a quality big man to its roster.
In fact, sources say the Warriors would actually like to trade for Howard, even though he has said he will not sign to play there long-term. In approaching the Magic about a Howard trade earlier this season, the Warriors were willing to send Ellis to Orlando in the trade.
Howard, according to HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy, would also love to see Steve Nash in a Magic uniform (and what big man wouldn’t want to see the league’s ageless assist wizard wearing the same uniform?) by the trade deadline:
The 38-year-old point guard is in the final year of his contract and plenty of teams will be placing calls to the Phoenix Suns in the days leading up to March 15.
The Orlando Magic has made offers for Nash in the past and sources close to the situation say that they’ll attempt to acquire the 16-year veteran in the next two weeks. Dwight Howard has asked the front office to pursue Nash and sources close to Howard believe he won’t exercise his early termination option if the team is able to acquire Nash and re-sign him this summer.
The one scenario that we just cannot get out of our minds is the idea of Howard and Deron Williams joining forces somewhere (either Brooklyn or Dallas), with some creative work needing to be done to make it happen sooner than the summer.
The story has been simmering since this time last year. The minute Williams was traded from Utah to New Jersey the speculation heated up. Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com offered up some compelling insight from the Mavericks’ perspective:
There are rumors swirling that both Howard and Williams will land in Big D in what would be the most ballyhooed free-agent double-dip since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in South Beach. Some suggest Williams is headed home no matter what.
Still, it’s not a slam dunk. If the Nets believe they can’t get Howard in a trade, they could opt to deal Williams or risk holding onto him with the hope of ultimately alluring both to Brooklyn.
On Monday night, two teams meet in Dallas with vastly differing season goals, but bound by the common objective of contending for future championships by pairing an elite point guard with the top center of his generation.
That is if the Lakers don’t get in the way first.
Ah, the Lakers. They’re always lurking somewhere deep in this conversation. They are the one team that could offer the Magic a big man (Andrew Bynum or even Pau Gasol) to instantly help fill the void of Howard’s departure in a trade.
But the Magic aren’t necessary looking to move Howard, at least they haven’t gotten to that point yet. They’re trying to make the moves to keep him.