So far, NBA all-star weekend has been exactly what was expected -- a gateway to the Dwight Howard trade watch.
Orlando is hosting this year's All-Star Game and the general line of thinking was that the Magic didn't want Howard to come back with a different team. So there would be no trade before the break.
But once this weekend ends, it seems inevitable that the Howard trade watch will dominate NBA news like a sort of Sunshine State Linsanity.
Asked about it during Friday's media scrum, Howard did the right thing by requesting the next question.
"All that stuff can go on after the all-star break," he told media in Orlando.
But Magic general manager Otis Smith said he thinks nothing has changed regarding Howard's preseason trade request. The Magic's 22-13 record at the break, fourth-best in the Eastern Conference, doesn't appear good enough to make Howard change his mind.
Smith knows what he has to do. If Howard isn't traded by the March 15 deadline, he'll become a free agent and two of his preferred destinations, Dallas and New Jersey/Brooklyn, can clear the cap room to sign him outright.
"You just have to do the best you can to get a deal if that's your choice," Smith told Fox Sports. "We haven't gotten to the point to where we're dealing, so I guess at this point I'm up against the deadline to figure out if we're going to hold on to him or move him."
Derrick Rose was asked about Howard during the media session Friday and did his best to be considerate of both his current teammates and Howard, his Adidas-endorsing buddy.
"Like I said, I don't go out and recruit people," Rose said, according to espn.com. "But Chicago speaks for itself. It's a great market and city, and I think that if anyone chooses to come there, it's a great city to be in."
The Bulls could make a nice offer for Howard using Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and a future first-round pick from Charlotte.
Sources suggest the Bulls have investigated trades for both Howard and Lakers forward Pau Gasol and found the price to be prohibitive. When it comes to those players, chances are the Bulls won't be picking up the phone between now and March 15, but are always available to pick up if it rings.
Bulls' big man watch:
A frequent question from fans is whether the Bulls will add an extra big man for the stretch run.
Nothing has happened to this point because they were hoping to land free agent Joel Przybilla. After a long wait, Przybilla decided to go back to one of his old homes and sign with Portland. He was being heavily recruited by Miami, so it doesn't sound like the Bulls made his final list.
On Friday, there was a report out of Boston suggesting Rasheed Wallace will end his one-year retirement by signing with the Lakers.
The Bulls still figure to be in no hurry to add a big man, unless there's a substantial injury. One candidate is Leon Powe, who played for Memphis last season. He's only 6-feet-8, but is good at drawing fouls.
Otherwise, it's probably the usual cast of veterans. Mikki Moore, 36, has been playing in the D-League, looking for an NBA return.
Common tie for coaches:
All-star coaches Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks both have strong ties to the late Bill Musselman.
After playing at Cal-Irvine, Brooks was not drafted and got his professional start with Musselman's Albany Patroons of the CBA.
That was around the same time Thibodeau, then an assistant at Harvard, started making drives over to Albany to study Musselman's ultrasuccessful squad. When Musselman was named coach of the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves, he gave Thibodeau his first NBA job.
Smith gets Hall honor:
Sam Smith of bulls.com was named a recipient of the 2012 Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Bulls forward Chet Walker was honored by the veteran's committee.
Those honors are well-deserved, but the basketball Hall continues to make odd decisions. This year, Nike founder Phil Knight will enter the Hall of Fame as a contributor. It's bad enough the Hall is filled with NBA owners, active college coaches and Dick Vitale, but this might be the worst call of recent years. What's next, a uniform manufacturer?
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