Magic's best move: Hanging on to Howard

The fact that there are 11 days until the deadline and Howard and Martins are talking is a good sign.

If he really wanted out, what would be left to say? This thing is past the point of Howard giving them a courtesy call, isn't it?

Maybe Dwight is simply struggling with having to pack up and file a new forwarding address. Maybe he's having a tough time actually looking Martins in the eye and saying goodbye.

It's obvious the whole matter has weighed on him.

"It's affected me all season," he said.

The time is coming for everyone to show their cards.

I don't know if the Magic's ability to acquire another point guard or scorer will tip the scales with Dwight. He knows the club doesn't have the kind of assets to strike a significant deal. If they did, the Magic would be a better team with a brighter playoff future.

If he still wants to enjoy the spoils of playing in a bigger market, then landing a Monta Ellis or Steve Nash can't really win him over.

The Magic have told Howard he doesn't need to leave li'l Orlando to build a global brand.

As super-agent David Falk — who represented the first branded star, Michael Jordan — told, "I think these guys are being told by these agents who aren't very sophisticated in marketing that you have to be in New York or L.A. to be marketable. Maybe they've never heard of the Internet."

The saga continues.