Publicly, the Mavericks' front office says they are not shopping Josh Howard. That doesn't mean they won't take phone calls and it doesn't mean they ultimately won't trade him.
However, most inquiries have been low-ball offers. Tuesday came the rumor of Howard for Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, a former No. 1 pick many thought would be the next Dirk Nowitzki, and guard Anthony Parker. The rumor also adds DeSagana Diop and Antoine Wright in the deal. It's hard to see anyone taking Diop's five-year, $32 million salary at a time most teams are avoiding adding salary to position for 2010.
This isn't a scenario that can be trusted. It's highly skeptical from the Mavs' point of view in giving up a talent such as Howard (when he wants to be) for a poor man's Dirk. If the Mavs feel their best move is to trade Howard, offers will become more interesting as things move closer to the Feb. 19 trade deadline and teams jockey for playoff position.
-- Jeff Caplan