“He’s telling everyone he’s leaving,” one league source said Sunday.
Magic executives are said to be unimpressed with the assets Howard’s three preferred teams could provide in a trade, prompting them to engage in a calculated campaign to expand the field of potential suitors beyond the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers. But the team that can make the strongest case for Orlando to depart from its risky strategy of holding onto Howard are the Bulls, who could offer 7-footer Omer Asik, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, sources said. The Bulls also could offer a valuable first-round pick from Charlotte — top-14 protected in this year’s draft but but unprotected by 2016.
Such a scenario has gained no traction since Chicago is “not on his list,” a person familiar with the situation said of Howard. Without assurances from Howard or his camp that he’d be willing to sign long-term with the Bulls, Chicago executives have exhibited no appetite for trade talks with the Magic. The two teams have spoken, but there’s “no type of serious discussions” going on, a person familiar with the situation said.
The Magic would have to give up Turkoglu in any potential deal but this trade doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Magic and I really don’t buy that they’d make a move like this even if Howard were to commit to the Bulls.
Although a more-than-solid player, Luol Deng is far from a superstar and has had knee problems. Carlos Boozer has a massive contract, is 30 years old and has been somewhat disappointing since singing like Chicago and Omer Asik isn’t exactly a budding star.
(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 onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)