If the Magic decide to trade Dwight Howard, sources close to the center believe it’ll be to a team that’ll rent him, not a team on his list.
The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are teams that could fit this description.
What Orlando is seeking if it makes a deal for the All-Star center is a package similar to what the Nuggets received for Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline: multiple good, young players and draft picks. Orlando executives view the Denver model as a middle ground between blowing up a contender and starting over with draft picks and reaching for veteran All-Stars whose contracts ultimately could hinder the recovery from a Howard trade.
The Denver Nuggets traded Anthony and Chauncey Billups to the New York Knicks in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton and Kosta Koufos.
The Orlando center hasn’t dropped his request to be dealt, but the Magic have spent more time discussing potential trades to bring in some help than deals to send him elsewhere. Howard can become a free agent after the season, and the uncertainty surrounding his future has stalled other potential trades.
“Dwight is holding up the league trade-wise right now,” one general manager said. “Everyone has crazy ideas here and there. But teams are reluctant to make a trade until something happens there.”
Meanwhile, Howard picked a convenient time to dominate the Bulls with 29 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks in Orlando’s 99-94 win at Chicago on Thursday. Atlanta could also be a possibility now that forward Josh Smith reportedly wants to be traded, though it’s unknown how Howard would see that option.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, sources said Otis Smith has yet to show serious interest in anyone on their roster. It’s not known how the Magic view the Rockets’ roster.
“Unless something changes and they get a great offer, they’re going to keep him,” one source close to Smith said.
Hedo Turkoglu, sources say, is the first name Orlando has been throwing out in trade discussions over the past week or so. Yet it’s one thing to try to foist Turkoglu on a team that’s trading for Howard and quite another to try to move Turkoglu, or any other vet in Howard’s supporting cast, when Dwight himself isn’t part of the deal.
Said another front-office source of the $18 million that Turkoglu is guaranteed over the next two seasons after this one: “They’d have to be willing to throw in at least two [future] first-round picks to get someone to take him.”
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HtD app here)
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