Ken Berger from CBSSports with the latest on the Dwight Howard saga. Tough to tell what is actually new news here, but it's of interest because it's about Dwight Howard potentially forming a super-duo with Derrick Rose, which sure would be great:
The Orlando Magic would like to seriously engage the Bulls in trade talks for Dwight Howard, but the All-Star center's apparent reluctance to make a long-term commitment to Chicago has all but killed the discussions, league sources told CBSSports.com.
Magic executives are said to be unimpressed with the assets Howard's three preferred teams could provide in a trade, prompting them to engage in a calculated campaign to expand the field of potential suitors beyond the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers.
This particular report throws around the usual assets from the Bulls, though notably Carlos Boozer instead of Joakim Noah. The names aren't really that important though, as it's phrased in a way to where sources only speculate that these could be names mentioned. Well, no kidding.
Now, for the ol' "knowledge of the Bulls thinking":
Without assurances from Howard or his camp that he'd be willing to sign long-term with the Bulls, Chicago executives have exhibited no appetite for trade talks with the Magic. The two teams have spoken, but there's "no type of serious discussions" going on, a person familiar with the situation said.
The Bulls (34-9) also have the best record in the league and are "built for long-term success," said one person familiar with their strategy, making a trade for Howard a non-starter without his blessing. Bulls officials do, according to sources, privately have concerns about whether they have enough to get past Miami in a playoff series, but are content to take a shot at it with the group they have.
So, this really isn't much of anything. The Magic wish the trade market was bigger for Howard (though I'd personally rather have Andrew Bynum as a primary asset than Luol Deng...), but they're finding resistance in that teams are only going to give up a lot if they had an assurance Dwight would sign long-term after dealing for him.
I get why the Bulls feel they need that assurance too, but also wish they wouldn't dismiss discussions without a long-term commitment from Howard. They'd have a great chance of winning a title, and it's a big market he can be a brand (or whatever) in, they could offer him the best FA contract, and you hope that would convince him. And that mindset should be especially true if the speculated trade package mentioned (Deng/Boozer/Asik/CHA1st for Howard/Turkoglu) was actually doable from the Magic's perspective. I happen to doubt it, because it's a bunch of bad money, and, as mentioned, it's only said here that the Bulls could offer that (it's true! they could!), but if it was true...that's not much of a hindrance to the Bulls strategic 'long-term success' in my opinion.
I suppose this says a lot about Howard as well, as we can guess he doesn't want to play in the shadow of Derrick Rose. That's my best guess, and it's better than his joking 'cold' reference to the city not much colder than New York. Maybe he's read a lot of hilarious LeBron jokes here and wouldn't want to dare seem cowardly in joining a fellow top-5 player? I wish he felt otherwise, but think the Bulls could do some work convincing him of such too. I expect little to change in the next week, and the Bulls have conceivably earned the 'we tried?' cover as they take their already-pretty-great team back into playoff battle. Howard won't be available if that fails, so you can consider such inaction a risky proposition as well.