The Magic, as they should, are trying to do as much work as possible on every front before making the franchise-defining decision of whether to trade Dwight Howard or keep him in hopes of re-signing him to a long-term extension. That work includes engaging the Warriors and Bucks in pursuit of landing Monta Ellis in an (at least) three-team deal and peppering Howard’s camp to see if landing a fish such as Ellis might sway Howard’s long-term outlook. The deal, as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, would involve Andrew Bogut going to the Warriors and other players flying all-around to make the math work; it’s unclear whether the Warriors, who would be willing to land Howard even without a long-term commitment from the big man, are serious about sending Ellis to Orlando.
SI.com’s Sam Amick confirmed that much when sources told him that Orlando has been attempting to get Ellis in a three-team deal with the Hornets. Writes Amick: “The Warriors showed no interest in helping Orlando hold onto the big man, meaning [owner Rich] DeVos, CEO Alex Martins and general manager Otis Smith must look elsewhere for talent in this 11th-hour recruiting effort.”
Knowing Howard’s mind is where this gets tricky, obviously. Howard’s camp is big, and it has sent out so many messages over the last six months that it’s impossible for anyone to describe his intentions with any certainty. How many times have Howard’s feelings about, say, the Lakers reportedly swayed since last summer? The only way the Magic can know for sure is to get a definitive answer straight from Howard, and if that ever happens, the two sides may do their best to keep the real details of that meeting private. We have no hard proof at this point that any member of the Magic’s brain trust has asked Howard whether landing Ellis, a favorite of Howard’s, would guarantee Howard either opts in next season or signs a new extension — or whether Howard has answered that question directly.
The Ellis chase will draw guffaws across the NBA world about Howard’s lack of acumen as a pseudo-GM. He reportedly requested the Magic sign-and-trade for Glen Davis, who has been one of the least productive rotation players in the league this season. He has expressed affection for Ellis, Carlos Boozer and Stephen Jackson, a roster that would be maddening to watch and force Howard to clone himself on every defensive possession. Read More…