Most of the Dwight Howard trade rumors were squelched when Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith announced he was taking his All-Star center off of the NBA's trading block, but there's little doubt he'll eventually be traded out of Florida before becoming a free agent. SB Nation's Tom Ziller noted earlier this month that it's basically a decision of when, not if, regarding the Magic's trading of the face of their franchise.
The Magic are apparently thinking along those lines behind the scenes as well, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Stein reported late Tuesday night that Orlando is looking for a package that included established veterans, something Howard's hometown Atlanta Hawks have apparently offered while the New Jersey Nets continue to wait.
Sources told ESPN.com that the aforementioned Hawks, meanwhile, engaged Orlando in trade talks for Howard earlier this month with an offer believed to be headlined by $124 million guard Joe Johnson and swingman Josh Smith. You have to figure that the Magic, though, would insist on Al Horford if such discussions ever got serious.
The Magic have until March 15 to decide whether to trade Howard or allow him to test the free agent market next summer, but it would seem to be in their best interests to get as much as possible for their All-Star centerpiece. With the Hawks now known to be involved in the discussions, it'll be interesting to see who else pops up before all is said and done.
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