The Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets have set "the framework of a possible four-team deal" in which the Magic would trade superstar center Dwight Howard and starting small forward Hedo Turkoglu to New Jersey in exchange for center prospect Brook Lopez and "another significant player obtained elsewhere," according to a report by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. "No deal was imminent," the Yahoo! scribe says, "but several league sources said talks were entering a crucial time, and the Nets were trying to get the proposal's complex framework completed in the near future."
The Nets are reportedly among the four teams with which Howard is interested in continuing his career, with Orlando, the Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers also under consideration. Further, New Jersey is the team to which Howard specifically requested a trade, and its failure to land free-agent center Nenê preserves cap space necessary to lure Howard as a free agent.
As Wojnarowski notes, however, there's little incentive for Orlando to make a trade now, as the Nets' willingness--and, it might be fair to say, eagerness--to part with Lopez in exchange for Howard is among the league's worst-kept secrets. "[T]he Nets deal for Lopez will always be there," he says, "so why rush into it?"
Why indeed. Orlando appears to be taking a patient approach with regard to Howard's future, and by all accounts is convinced it can re-sign him when he becomes a free agent this summer. The Magic can wait to see if Howard's trade value increases as the March 15 trade deadline approaches, or if a successful start to the season could strengthen his desire to remain with Orlando. Perhaps the only benefit of dealing Howard now would be avoiding a prolonged media circus surrounding him as the season wears on, but bringing aboard several new players days before, or in the early stages of, a lockout-shortened season could prove just as distracting for the team.
For the above-cited reasons, I doubt Orlando will resolve Howard's situation anytime soon, though it is interesting that the team is at least fielding offers for Howard. That two teams apart from Orlando and New Jersey are involved should come as no surprise, though; as Andy Vasquez noted over the weekend, Nets general manager Billy King "has a history of making complex, multi-team deals [....] Last season along, King made two trades involving three teams or more."