Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: Nets Currently In Lead For Magic Superstar, According To Report

The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching; Thursday will be here before we know it. After months of denying trade rumors and stating emphatically that Dwight Howard is not available, the Orlando Magic are looking likely to trade the superstar after all.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Magic GM Otis Smith was taking calls on Tuesday from teams interested in securing Howard's services. Two teams that seemed interested in a "rental" of Howard were the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, but the center seems pretty dead-set in joining the New Jersey Nets, either now or over the summer, as they become the Brooklyn Nets.

Still, it appears that the only thing Howard wants more than Brooklyn is the chance to go there as a free agent without the team giving up assets to acquire him. The Nets likely would surrender a package centered around 7-footer Brook Lopez, promising rookie MarShon Brooks and some filler to account for taking on the contract of Magic swingman Hedo Turkoglu, who is guaranteed $18 million over the next two seasons. The Nets have two first-round picks to offer -- their own, and Houston's, which is top-14 protected in each of the next five drafts.

Meanwhile, the Nets are aggressively exploring potential payroll-shedding deals in the event the Magic hang onto Howard and New Jersey can get him as a free agent in July. A fairly minor deal for an expiring contract would free up enough room to pair Howard with Williams and re-sign Lopez, who is set to become a restricted free agent July 1.

It looks like Howard heading to the Nets is pretty much an inevitability at this point. The only question is whether it will happen prior to the trade deadline, or after the season ends.

For more on Howard's situation, be sure to check out Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post. Click the link for more NBA trade rumors.


Dan Rubenstein and SLAM Magazine's Lang Whitaker discuss Dwight Howard's future:

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