Has Howard’s Trade Market Dried Up?
If (Dwight) Howard really is willing to go to Dallas for less money next summer, then (Rob) Hennigan would be choosing to let him walk rather than take assets he doesn’t want for the post-Dwight rebuilding. That’s a calculated risk, and one that keeps Howard’s desired trade destination, Brooklyn, very much in the game come January. But this collision of power plays also could re-ignite talks that would send Howard to the Lakers before the start of the season, if only Orlando could find the necessary cap relief, draft picks and young players from a third team. Such talks involving the Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled to gain momentum, given the premium the Magic are placing on Howard’s value.
“The market has dried up,” said one person briefed on the Howard trade talks.
The kind of blockbuster deal Orlando is seeking — similar to the haul of assets Denver received for Carmelo Anthony in February 2011 — has thus far been unattainable. On one hand, you can’t blame the Magic for setting the price high, since they’re selling not only an asset — the best center in the game — but also the leverage of a five-year deal that his new team could offer next summer. The Magic are understandably reluctant to surrender that leverage, and they know full well the same deals will be available in February. Their strategy could be made or broken depending on whether Howard is bluffing when he says he’ll take a shorter deal and less money to leave if he doesn’t get his way. That’s something none of his contemporaries have done, including the one he seeks to play with in Brooklyn, Deron Williams.