NBA Rumors: 5 Replacements for Dwight Howard in Orlando

Branden FitzPatrick@divingmelvinCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2012

NBA Rumors: 5 Replacements for Dwight Howard in Orlando

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    If this lockout-shortened season has told us anything, it's this: Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. Problem is, how do the Magic replace a player of his quality? The answer is simple: They can't.

    Replacing a superstar is nearly impossible. They have intangibles that separate them from a basic All-Star quality player, like a Chris Bosh, for example.

    Superstars, guys like Howard and LeBron James, don't grow on trees. It's impossible to get a player of equal value for a superstar in a trade. No one wants to trade a superstar if they have one because they are so rare.

    But if the superstar gives the impression that he is going to leave when he becomes a free agent, the franchise has to trade him for something, or they will ultimately end up with nothing.

    Unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Denver Nuggets traded their superstar before he fled for free agency. In return for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman, the Nuggets received Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks' 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors' 2012 second-round pick, the Warriors' 2013 second-round pick and $3 million in cash.

    The trade has worked out well for the Nuggets. So far this season, the Nuggets are 14-7. That's good for third place in the deep Western Conference. 

    The Magic don't look like a title contender, especially as of late, losing six of their last eight games. With Howard already halfway out the door, who can the Magic acquire to replace him?



Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Just a season ago, people were talking about Amar'e Stoudemire being a possible MVP candidate. He has played significantly worse this year, averaging 17.6 points through 19 games. Last year he  averaged 25.3. But if the Magic are looking to replace Howard with another big man, why not try out Stoudemire? 

    The Knicks can offer Stoudemire, Renaldo Balkman and Iman Shumpert for Howard. The Magic can make this trade because they have a trade exception from the Big Baby-Brandon Bass trade.

    Sure, the Knicks would be losing their young point guard, but would they really balk at the chance to team Howard with Melo and Tyson Chandler?  

    I don't think the Magic make this trade because of Stoudemire's uninsured contract, but it's at least a possibility. 

Josh Smith

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    The Atlanta Hawks could offer Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Zaza Pachulia for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu. The Magic would receive two all-star caliber players and a starting center for their superstar. Not bad.

    The problem with this trade? Do the Magic want to dump Turkoglu's huge contract in return for Johnson's huge contract? While Johnson is still playing at a high level, to make this trade the Magic have to have a plan in case Johnson doesn't live up to his contract.

    Smith is a highlight reel, someone who could soften the Magic's pain a little after losing a superstar like Howard. He is a strong rebounder, averaging 9.1 a game, and is a proficient scorer.   

DeMarcus Cousins

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    Yes, I understand that superstars don't like small markets. LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami. Melo and Chris Paul got themselves traded out of a small market. But what do the Sacramento Kings have to lose here?

    They've been one of the most disappointing teams this season, and one has to wonder if the young players the Kings have assembled will ever amount to anything. Why not rent Howard and make a run at the playoffs? 

    This could be the last season the Kings play in Sacramento. If they trade DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Jimmer Fredette for Howard, it could generate some buzz and help the Kings get the new arena that would keep them in Sacramento. My point with the Kings is, what do they have to lose? 

    For the Magic, they'd be replacing Howard with a young center who averages 15 points and 11 rebounds. Maybe Stan Van Gundy can turn around Cousin's career. The Magic would also receive fan favorite Fredette, who could eventually become a valuable role player for them.  

Monta Ellis

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    Like the Kings, the Golden State Warriors probably don't have much of a shot at re-signing Howard. But where is this David Lee-Monta Ellis-Steph Curry core taking you?

    The Warriors could offer the Magic Lee and Ellis for Howard. The Magic would get a quality center and a high-scoring guard to pair with Jameer Nelson. The Warriors would get the best center in the NBA to pair with Steph Curry.  

    The Warriors may not make this trade with the possibility of Howard bolting at the end of the season, but right now they're in bad position as a franchise: Not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a top three pick, unless they get lucky in the lottery.

Andrew Bynum

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    As ESPN and Grantland's Bill Simmons mentioned in his NBA Season Review: 20 Questions column, the Los Angeles Lakers could trade Andrew Bynum, Matt Barnes, the Lakers' 2012 No. 1 pick and a valuable trade exception for Howard, Nelson and Quentin Richardson. 

    Bynum is the best player the Magic can get for Howard. He's the second-best center in the NBA when he is healthy, averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds.

    Who knows how good he could be on a team where he is the go-to guy.

    For Howard, he once again gets to follow in the footsteps of Shaquille O'Neal by leaving the Magic and joining the Lakers.