When you've got a player the stature of Dwight Howard name checking half of the NBA's cities in an effort to find a new home, it's going to have potential to hold up other deals. As the NBA's trade deadline inches closer by the day, it seems Howard's "will he, won't he?" saga is dictating the flow of transactions and making the other 29 teams hesitant to deal.
But while the Howard situation looms, Marc Stein wrote in his Weekend Dime that there are other factors contributing to the low number of transactions, such as the trade eligibility delays involving 2011 free agents, which includes David West, Jeff Foster, and Jeff Pendergraph. It doesn't seem likely the Pacers are awaiting those deals to become available before making moves, especially in West and Foster's case, but it'd be impossible to rule out given the uncertainty involving Howard.
Orlando still seems wary on trading Howard, however, especially before the All-Star Game comes to town. Whether they'll make the decision to move him before the deadline, the All-Star festivities will no doubt make trades scarce. The phones are still ringing, however, as Larry Bird says he's getting calls frequently on the availability of the Indiana players. It will be interesting to see what players Bird would consider moving at the deadline, and even though in the past he's been willing to trade anyone for the right deal, it's hard to say whether the same willingness still exists given the make-up of the team now.
As per usual trade deadline workings involving Bird, it's hard to guess what will come up, or worse, what might fall through. The Pacers have a checklist of areas they'd be better for addressing at the trade deadline, from more consistent front court depth to a reliable scorer off of the bench, maybe even some players to help plug holes on the defensive side of the ball. But just as the Carmelo Anthony deal last year helped open up other deadline moves, it would be no surprise teams would hesitate on making a move too soon when what becomes available after Orlando makes their decision is still too foggy to predict.