One thing about Dwight Howard's future seems to be clear -- his time in Orlando is running out.
The Magic center has once again has demanded to be traded. Howard claims that Orlando failed to deliver on promises they made to him when he opted-in to the final year of his contract.
Howard is looking into taking legal action against Orlando if they refuse to move him, hoping to become a free agent this summer. He has one year remaining on his deal, and will only sign an extension with one club.
While it's unlikely that Howard will be able to find a way out of his contract, re-signing with the Magic doesn't seem to be an option.
"There's only one team on my list and if I don't get traded there, I'll play the season out and explore my free agency after that," Howard told Yahoo! Sports.
Orlando wants to keep Howard, but they may have no choice but to trade the All-Star this summer.
Where will Howard play the 2012-13 NBA season?
The Lakers have the best chance of trading for Howard. No one can match a potential offer from L.A.
If Los Angeles were to offer Andrew Bynum for Howard, the Magic would almost certainly accept. Bynum proved last year to be the best center in the NBA, other than Howard. He averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game for the Lakers this past season.
Bynum may have slightly worse numbers than Howard, but he's the best Orlando can hope to get. He's two years younger than Howard, and has shown that he's only getting better.
With Howard making it clear that he won't return to Orlando in 2013, it's a deal the Magic would have to make. The biggest question is whether or not the Lakers would be willing to give up Bynum.
In the past, the Lakers may have been concerned about taking on Howard's contract. Kobe Bryant is already the highest paid player in the league and Pau Gasol makes approximately $19 million a season.
With the emergence of Bynum, however, that is no longer a concern. Bynum has just one year left on his contract, and the Lakers would also have to give him a max-contract in order to re-sign him.
L.A. might be reluctant about acquiring Howard with his recent history of being unhappy with his current team. However, Los Angeles has had its own concerns about Bynum's commitment to the Lakers.
A straight-up swap of Howard for Bynum would work out for both teams.
According to reports, Howard claims he will only sign with the Brooklyn Nets. The center may want to play for Brooklyn, but Brooklyn might not have the ability to sign Howard to a long-term contract.
The Nets are currently working on designing their team for next season, and their actions could prohibit them from ever bringing in Howard.
Brooklyn is looking to re-sign Deron Williams. They are also looking to trade for Joe Johnson. At this point, the Nets don't have enough to entice the Magic to send them Howard. If Brooklyn gives up its remaining assets to acquire Johnson, there's no chance they'll be able to swing a deal for Howard.
Howard could decide to wait until he becomes a free agent in 2013 to sign a new contract, but if the Nets make a trade for Johnson, they'll have no room for the big man.
The Hawks guard has one of the biggest contracts in the history of the league. He's set to make close to $90 million over the next four years. Unless Howard is willing to accept Brooklyn's mid-level exception, the rules of the salary cap won't allow him to sign with the Nets.
The Rockets have been putting themselves in a position to trade for Howard, but a deal looks much less likely than it did a few days ago. Houston had three picks in this year's NBA Draft, and was looking to make a big trade.
A few days later, the Rockets still have a few good assets, but they don't have an exceptional player to offer the Magic. Houston was unable to turn their middle-round picks into a high draft pick or an established NBA star.
Houston seems to have moved on from Howard, reportedly signing free agent center Omer Asik to a three-year deal worth $25 million.
Brooklyn may be Howard's preferred destination, and the Rockets may have the most assets, but it's hard to see Howard going anywhere but Los Angeles. The Lakers can offer up a much better player than either the Nets or Rockets.
If the Lakers pull off a trade for Howard, it's doubtful that the center will refuse to sign a long-term contract with the one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NBA.