Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
If center Dwight Howard were willing to commit to a long-term future with the Chicago Bulls, the Orlando Magic would trade him and Hedo Turkoglu there for Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and Omer Asik prior to Thursday's NBA trade deadline, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The Magic believe that offer--which could also include a first-round draft choice from the league-worst Charlotte Bobcats that becomes fully unprotected in 2016--trumps whatever else they could hope to receive in a deal for the league's top center.
However, Chicago won't part with two All-Star forwards and a young seven-footer unless Howard commits to signing long-term with the club, which he's given no indication he'll do. Thus, while the teams have spoken, "there's 'no type of serious discussions' going on," Berger says, citing a source.
Orlando's efforts to increase interest in Howard from teams not on his so-called wish list have failed, Berger says, because there aren't enough games remaining on the schedule following the trade deadline for a team Howard's yet to approve to convince him to stay.
If the Magic don't trade him by the deadline, Howard will almost certainly exercise the early termination option in his contract to explore free agency in 2012; the only way he wouldn't is if the Magic somehow convinced him to put his free agency off for another year. Thus, not trading him would be a risky choice by Orlando management.
Asik, 25, has earned a reputation as one of the league's most skilled young post defenders, but remains exceptionally raw offensively. Hw owns career averages of three points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks. The rumored trade with Chicago would, in Deng and Boozer, also bring back two frontcourt players with at least one All-Star appearance each. Boozer's career averages stand at 17.2 points and 10 rebounds, while Deng has posted 16 points and 6.4 rebounds while becoming one of the NBA's top perimeter defenders.