As the Orlando Magic work to find the best trade possible for All-NBA center Dwight Howard, it's become clear that if they send him to the New Jersey Nets, it'll need to be soon. Sam Amick reports that talks between the Magic and Nets have continued, without progressing or regressing, but if the two teams can't come up with a deal within a week, they'll table the discussions for later.
The key date is December 15th, which is the earliest teams may trade players signed to new contracts in the 2012 free-agency period.
Amick says Orlando has also discussed a Howard trade with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets. The Lakers' acquisition of future Hall-of-Fame point guard Steve Nash may help convince Howard, who has just one season remaining on his contract, to commit to Los Angeles long-term, which commitment he's been reluctant to make. However, as Amick notes, the Lakers sent the Phoenix Suns four future Draft picks in the Nash sign-and-trade, weakening their stable of assets.
Crucially, Amick reports Orlando is indeed interested in obtaining multiple first-round picks in any trade involving Howard, even if they are likely to be late first-rounders, as L.A.'s surely would be.