Earlier today, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld reported that the Magic think their chances of retaining Dwight Howard for at least one more season are at least 50/50. As long as the team continues to feel that way, it's unlikely we see Howard traded before the deadline. For now, it appears any moves the Magic make will intended to improve the roster around Howard, though the club doesn't have many appealing assets to offer in any deals. Here are the rest of today's Howard-related updates, with the newest up top:
- The Nets announced today that Brook Lopez has suffered a sprained right ankle and will be sidelined for three weeks (Twitter links). If New Jersey hopes to acquire Howard by March 15th, Lopez would almost certainly need to be involved, so Lopez's continued injury woes make a D12 deal look less and less likely for New Jersey. As Andy Vasquez of the Bergen Record tweets, Lopez's injury doesn't mean he can't be traded, but it certainly complicates negotiations for the Nets.
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports hears from sources that serious trade talks around the league are on hold while teams wait for the Magic to decide whether or not they'll keep Howard.
- While Howard's list of preferred destinations only includes three teams, Magic GM Otis Smith could try to work out a trade with a club not on Howard's list. But are there any teams that would be willing to acquire Howard without assurances that he'd stay long-term? Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel looks at a few clubs who might take that risk, though none of his hypothetical deals are particularly appealing for the Magic.