Sean Deveney of the Sporting News detailed one of the options for Howard, but also strongly implied that he won't be changing teams until after the season.
Dallas, though, remains a darkhorse to land Howard, especially if the Magic don’t pull the trigger on a deal during the season.
That is increasingly likely, one source said. The Magic are still holding out hope that they can re-sign Howard, and given the fact that the Nets and Mavericks have precious little to offer for Howard without involving more teams, Orlando sees clinging to that hope as its best option—for now, at least.
This shows that Orlando is responding to logic. If you're a fan of the franchise, just hope that they continue to do so.
Worry about after the season then. Right now, the Magic are firmly in the playoff race and the NBA is a wide open league.
Yes, the Bulls and Heat are the top teams in the East, but neither of those teams have the post presence to match Howard in Miami. Howard is the top center in the league, which is a neutralizer for not having the top to bottom starting lineup of those teams.
If Orlando wasn't so firmly in the playoffs, I would be singing a different tune. No, I don't think the Magic will bring Howard back next year after this tumultuous season and if they weren't a real contender, I would buy the "better to get something than nothing" approach.
But they are easily in the playoffs now, currently holding the fifth seed. In a year like this one, getting into the postseason is the only thing you need to do to make a run.
The compacted nature of a 66-game campaign means that teams are going to be tired when the playoffs roll around. Heck, the last time we saw a shortened season, the Knicks were a No. 8 seed and advanced all the way to the Finals.
The Knicks' big man was a past his prime Patrick Ewing. In 1999, Ewing was nowhere near the player that Howard is in 2012.
This year is just too hectic and unpredictable. Any team in the playoffs has a real shot at winning a title. Therefore, a squad that had a player of Howard's caliber would be foolish to do anything but keep him.