There are still more than six weeks until the 2012 trade deadline, but it doesn't appear that the Dwight Howard trade rumors will slow down for a single day until we get resolution. Orlando GM Otis Smith claims he doesn't intend to make any big moves in the near future, but the Magic's play on the court has onlookers thinking D12's days in Orlando are numbered. Yesterday, Howard indicated he wouldn't mind playing with Derrick Rose, and ESPN's Ric Bucher heard Stephen Jackson would be another preferred teammate of Howard's. Here are today's updates:
- Despite Howard indicating that he would be open to playing in Chicago, Magic GM Otis Smith told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that Howard's camp has not told the Magic that he has expanded his list of preferred trade destinations beyond his original three teams: the Nets, Lakers, and Mavericks. Smith added that he does not believe that the Magic have lost bargaining power due to their recent losing streak.
- Until Howard definitively says he'd sign an extension with the Bulls, the topic is a non-starter, tweets K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Earlier today, Johnson predicted the Mavericks will be the team to land Howard.
- After running through potential Howard scenarios, ESPN.com's Larry Coon concludes that Howard probably be won't be wearing a Magic jersey after March 15th, but could be a free agent this summer.
- Howard's role of leader in the Magic clubhouse has been lost, says Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. According to Wojnarowski, everyone is resigned to the inevitable fact that Howard will be gone, sooner or later.
- J.J. Redick to Wojnarowski on the elephant in the room: "As long as [Howard]’s here, it will be a distraction because it’s all anybody talks about when they talk about our team. We don’t hear it? Of course we do."
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says we know how the Howard situation will eventually end, but not how bad it will get before then.
- LeBron James and Chris Bosh may have taken flak for fleeing Cleveland and Toronto respectively for South Beach, but at least they played out their contracts without asking to be traded, writes Peter Vescey of the New York Post. Vescey adds that he doesn't think the Bulls should break up their team to make a blockbuster deal for Howard.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel advises fans at Amway Center to try to forget about the Howard drama for a night and show the Magic some love on Wednesday.