With less than 48 hours until the NBA trade deadline, the Orlando Magic have many questions still left unanswered. None is bigger, however, than the future of Dwight Howard in O-Town. Despite the Magic possessing the fourth-best record in the NBA, Howard is in search of greener pastures, as the Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are all on his preferred destination list.
Earlier this week, a rumor broke that the Orlando Magic were going to be able to acquire a second star in the form of the electric Golden State guard Monta Ellis. Not only were they going to appease Howard, as Ellis would be his perfect "sidekick," but they were going to be able to shed the horrendous, cumbersome contract of Hedo Turkoglu.
However, this rumored three-team deal, with either New Orleans of Milwaukee being the third organization in the trade, fell flat. It is widely believed that the Golden State brass did not want to lose Ellis without acquiring a star themselves—a luxury Orlando cannot offer.
Now that the trade deadline is just two days away, rumors have surfaced that Orlando has come to terms with the fact that shipping Dwight Howard is the best option for their future.
If Howard is traded, New Jersey seems to be the front-runner, as a package of MarShon Brooks, Brook Lopez and a plethora of draft picks would be enticing.
Still, the Magic have voiced their desire for established veterans in exchange for Howard. So what team on Howard's list can offer a few proven players along with draft picks?
Well, the Los Angeles Lakers absolutely can.
Despite informing the Lakers that they are not interested in a Howard for Andrew Bynum swap, the Magic's front office must have been impressed by Bynum's incredible performance against the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
Bynum scored 20 efficient points and grabbed 14 rebounds while making key plays in the clutch. He also showed the NBA world that he should be considered an elite defensive center. His one-on-one defensive ability is second only to Howard among centers.
These types of performances, however, haven't been rare for Bynum this season. As of March 12, the seven-footer was averaging 17 points per game and 12 rebounds—not bad for a center many considered an afterthought just a few years ago.
If the Magic decide to trade with Los Angeles, the team would be able to unload a few of their cumbersome contracts. Candidates to be shipped to Los Angeles would include Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Glen Davis.
Plus, the Lakers possess a valuable Dallas Mavericks draft pick that they can add to the deal to make it more enticing for Orlando.
In the end, Orlando has many options they can utilize in this unfortunate predicament. Swapping Howard for Bynum may be their best one.