- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Staff Writer
The trade deadline is around the corner and Dwight Howard is still a member of the Orlando Magic. His trade request made in training camp still stands on the table, but as we inch toward the 11th hour, the chances that he remains in black-and-blue for the rest of the season still seem better than the alternative.
For Magic fans, hoping for one last run with their franchise player isn't just wishful thinking. A Howard departure seems unlikely at this stage in the game, and there's no reason to sell (or soak with gasoline) your No. 12 jerseys.
Why? Let's count the reasons.
1. Brook Lopez is hurt
It's been long known that, along with the Dallas Mavericks, the New Jersey Nets are the apple of Howard's eye. With charismatic Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, a brand-new arena and most of all, the New York City lights, the Brooklyn err New Jersey Nets have plenty to offer. Oh, and the on-court possibility of catching alley-oops from Deron Williams? That's appealing, too.
But if the Nets want Howard now, they would only have damaged goods to offer. Lopez, out with a fractured foot for the foreseeable future, is the biggest chip that the Nets could offer Orlando GM Otis Smith. Unfortunately, Lopez would have to pass a physical in order to be eligible for a trade and it's unlikely that a general manager would deal for a 7-footer unless he knew that he was healthy.
8hMatt Walks, ESPN.com