Orlando Magic Trade Rumors: Why Keeping Dwight Howard Is Now the Best Option

Kason GreenContributor IMarch 9, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 25:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic questions a call during the NBA season opening game against the Oklahoma City Thunder December 25, 2011 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma City defeated Orlando 97-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Dwight Howard is, as he has been since early December, the biggest player in the NBA market who is "available" leading up to the March 15th trading deadline.

However, the biggest question facing the Dwight Howard saga is just how available he really is. The Orlando Magic want to keep Howard, but he wants out (behind the scenes, at least). 

If Dwight Howard is truly unhappy in Orlando, he has put on quite a professional front, as he has been the leader behind the third best record in the Eastern Conference and a Magic team that is still upper echelon by all means.

Still, rumors are abound about where Dwight could potentially end up before next Thursday's deadline. According to several league executives, Orlando is not expected to deal Dwight in hopes to convince him to stay, come this offseason.

And whether or not they can be successful in those endeavors this summer, the best decision for right now is to keep Dwight Howard.

On the surface, the Magic are, with the third seed in the Eastern Conference and fresh off a win against Chicago, still considered a threat in the East. By choosing to keep Howard this far, the Magic have bought another playoff berth and a season of somewhat relevance.

The fact of the matter is that Orlando stands absolutely nothing to gain by dealing Howard at this juncture.

There hasn't been a single publicly proposed deal that has been anything worth closing on. Dwight's play this season has proven just how valuable he is once again, and the combinations of older players and not enough high draft picks, that teams such as Los Angeles and New Jersey have been rumored to, just aren't acceptable.

Unless another NBA team puts an offer on the table that Otis Smith and Orlando's front office just can't refuse, Dwight Howard needs to stay in a blue and black uniform for the remainder of the year. Orlando does not need to settle for a deal that won't at least come close to compensate them for how much Dwight Howard would mean to his new team.

Should Orlando choose to wait it out until the offseason, they can either convince Dwight to stay or offer him another season of contract and quite a bit more money in a sign-and-trade, thus not letting him walk for nothing.

Having waited this long and still not seen any worthy offers, Orlando stands with more to gain from keeping Dwight through the season than dealing him, and from the looks of it, they will do just that.