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The Orlando Magic continue their pursuit of Golden State Warriors shooting guard Monta Ellis, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, though the Milwaukee Bucks have supplanted the New Orleans Hornets as the third team in trade talks. In the new arrangement, Orlando would obtain Ellis from Golden State, while the Bucks would send center Andrew Bogut to the Warriors. According to Berger, this scenario is but one of many the Magic are considering "to upgrade their roster" as they look to convince franchise cornerstone Dwight Howard to "relent on his strategy to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1."
Howard, who requested a trade from the Magic during training camp, reportedly indicated to the Magic that Ellis was one player management should target. The 6-foot-3 Ellis is averaging 21.9 points, 3.4 boards, six assists, and 1.5 steals per game in his seventh pro season.
The Houston Rockets had also attempted to acquire Bogut in "a less complicated," two-team trade with Milwaukee, Berger says, but shifted gears early Tuesday and decided to "pursue another deal" with an as-yet-unknown team.
Milwaukee, for its part, is also considering several ways to part ways with Bogut, the top overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, who owns career averages of 12.7 points, 9.3 boards, 2.3 assists, and 1.6 blocks. The Bucks, Berger says, are also considering dealing the seven-foot Australian to the Washington Wizards.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 Eastern.