"There's closure, I guess, if he goes," Van Gundy said (via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post). "If he stays [past Thursday], it just starts all over again. You just start the clock again. Then we're right back to where we were when the playoffs ended last year. Everybody will be talking about, 'OK, what's going to happen in the summer? And what's going to happen next year?'"
Still, Thursday should provide at least some hint of what Howard's future holds, and Van Gundy doesn't expect resolution before deadline day. Here are today's updates on Howard, with the latest up top:
- The Nets aren't content to sit back and wait for Howard to come to them via free agency — New Jersey would give up assets at the deadline to ensure they land the big man, tweets Kyler. Kyler hears from Nets sources that the team's offer is better than Magic sources are claiming (Twitter link).
- If he's going to change teams, Howard prefers free agency because he doesn't want a club to gut its roster to acquire him. And if he's a free agent, Howard's three-team list "goes out the window," according to SI.com's Chris Mannix (Twitter links). Mannix identifies the Clippers and Heat as two teams that would interest Howard in free agency, though there'd be cap obstacles in each case (Twitter link).
- Mannix has been told "unequivocally" that Howard isn't interested in signing with the Bulls (Twitter link).
- Magic fans may prefer a trade now rather than losing Howard for nothing this summer, but Orlando is receiving mostly lowball offers, reports Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. Teams on Howard's list know he'll test free agency this summer anyway, while teams not on his list aren't inclined to give up a lot for a potential rental.
- As Ken Berger of CBS Sports wrote last night, the Bulls are a preferred trade partner for the Magic. However, Chicago won't pursue Howard without assurances he'd re-sign, and Howard seems reluctant to add the Bulls to his list of desired destinations. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld says Howard would be Derrick Rose's sidekick, rather than the face of the franchise, in Chicago, an idea that doesn't appeal to D12 (Twitter links).
- Magic sources still say they're not expecting a Howard trade, Kennedy adds in a separate tweet.
- In their frequent meetings with Howard, the Magic aren't necessarily trying to convince him to sign in Orlando long-term, says ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (video link). The Magic would be happy if Dwight agreed not to opt out of the final year of his contract — that would give Orlando more time and assets to try to bring in help around Howard next season.
- Broussard adds that he still believes the Nets are the most likely destination if Howard is traded this week.