The Orlando Magic's 10-4 start to the 2011/12 season has the team thinking it may not have to part ways with superstar center Dwight Howard, who has requested a trade, after all, a new report by Ken Berger says. "Orlando executives believe the analysis of the Howard situation has ignored an important consideration," writes the CBSSports.com scribe. "The Magic can request trades too, and make them."
Rather than trading Howard before the March 15 deadline and beginning their rebuilding effort, Orlando may seek to add major talent via trade, which would accomplish two goals: put the team back into championship contention and make a final push for Howard to re-sign when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012. One trade possibility is with the Phoenix Suns, Berger says, for point guard Steve Nash. Citing sources, Berger reports "Orlando has not ruled out making a play" for the future Hall-of-Fame point guard.
With Jameer Nelson struggling--Zach Lowe of SB Nation partner Sports Illustrated named the eight-year veteran one of the league's most disappointing players--the time may be right to make a change, and Nash would be an excellent fit in Orlando's offense. The 37-year-old is averaging 15.1 points per game and leads the league with 10.1 assists.
Further, Orlando may elect not to trade Howard at all, and risk watching him leave as a free agent with no compensation. Berger says that's "not particularly appealing," but a sign-and-trade deal with the Los Angeles Clippers may be possible, and the Magic could potentially acquire superstar power forward Blake Griffin, the reigning Rookie of the Year, in such a deal.
In non-Howard news, the Magic may decide to offer power forward Ryan Anderson a contract extension this season. Berger, again citing sources, lists the Cal product as one of "the most likely candidates" to get an extension before the deadline for 2008 draftees expires on Jan. 25. In his fourth season, Anderson has emerged as Orlando's second-leading scorer, putting in 17.8 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and leading the league in three-pointers made (46) and attempted (111) through 14 games.
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