The time is growing closer by the day to the NBA trade deadline, as Dwight Howard has yet to leave the Orlando Magic in favor of another team. Depending on who you ask, you will probably get a different answer as to where Howard will end up.
Many different scenarios could play out involving multiple teams, but one thing is very clear regarding Howard. The team who needs him the most to make a strong playoff push this season would have to be the Dallas Mavericks.
Howard and the Mavericks are a match made in basketball heaven. The Mavs have great depth and solid play at almost every position, except center. So why not go after arguably the best center in the NBA?
Mark Cuban and the Mavs' passed on re-signing key players from their championship team such as Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea, mostly to try and land big names at the trade deadline or through free agency this summer.
If all goes according to plan, Cuban and the Mavs could land Dwight Howard and possibly Deron Williams in free agency. But the Mavs need to start getting the pieces in place to make a run at Howard before the trade deadline if he thinks about possibly going somewhere else.
Getting Howard at the trade deadline then signing him to a long-term deal in the offseason would be the best possible outcome. Dallas could give up quality players without severely hurting their core, and both sides could benefit from a trade.
Howard to the Mavericks needs to happen this season for mostly one reason. He would create an instant shift in the Mavs' status, from a being a good team to becoming among the NBA’s elite teams. Yes, there are some concerns with age surrounding the Mavericks’ roster, but Howard would provide freshness and a needed spark to the team.
Where will Dwight Howard end up?
Its not like the Mavericks were a bad defensive team before all this talk about Howard possibly joining them (they are currently fifth in total defense, giving up 90.9 points per game), and his addition would quite possibly make the Mavs the best defensive team in the Western Conference.
Ian Mahinmi and Brendan Haywood have been able to provide good minutes this season, but Howard’s production is still miles ahead of the both of them combined.
The statistics do not lie: through Wednesday Howard has averaged 20.1 points, 15.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. That is compared to 11.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for both the Mavericks’ centers. Those standpoints can apply for pretty much any other center in the league as well, aside from a select few.
There is also one glaring reason why Howard would choose to play in Dallas over somewhere else. Paired with Dirk Nowizki, Howard could become part of the best frontcourt duo in the league. The combination of inside and outside shooting by two seven-footers could be hard to fathom for opponents.
They could even be dubbed the next “Twin Towers.” I’m sure Spurs fans would appreciate that.
Nowitzki has never played with anyone who has been able to match his consistent All-Star quality, and the results could only benefit the both of them.
Aside from all the perks of being on a team with Nowitzki, there are a few other observations that need to be made. Howard has yet to have been on a team in Orlando with this much leadership and experience. The Magic have been feverishly trying to swap new pieces in to play around Howard over the past few years, without too much success.
In Dallas, Howard would team up with some of the smartest players to play the game in recent memory.
Basically what it comes down to is the Mavericks need to make changes soon if they want to repeat as NBA champions, and Howard would make them an easy bet to reach the NBA Finals once again.
If it happens this season, the Mavericks have to be the odds-on favorite to win it all.