ESPN's Marc Stein reports the Orlando Magic may trade All-Star center Dwight Howard before the regular season starts on December 25th, according to "a growing number of league executives." Otis Smith, the Magic's President of Basketball Operations, told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday that trading Howard isn't outside the realm of possibility.
"I think you have to look at everything," Smith told the Sentinel's Josh Robbins. "I don't think you can take anything out of consideration."
The most commonly rumored destinations for Howard are the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets. Both afford Howard the opportunity to play with superstars he admires--Los Angeles boasts Kobe Bryant, while New Jersey has Deron Williams signed through this coming season--and can offer the Magic fairly attractive trade packages. The Lakers would presumably offer some combination of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom, while the Nets have a bevy of future draft picks in addition to 23-year-old center Brook Lopez.
Other teams to consider are the Los Angeles Clippers, who could team Howard with Rookie of the Year winner Blake Griffin and offer high-scoring shooting guard Eric Gordon to Orlando; as well as the deep-pocketed Dallas Mavericks, the defending NBA champions who boast Rodrigue Beaubois as a top trade asset, in addition to the warm-weather climate Howard prefers.
Howard has spent his entire seven-year career with Orlando, which made the controversial decision to select him over four-year collegian Emeka Okafor first in the 2004 NBA Draft. In addition to his three Defensive Player of the Year awards, five All-Star berths, and five All-NBA team selections, Howard owns career averages of 18.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.2 blocked shots.