NBA Trade Rumors: Will Dwight Howard's Mixed Messages Deter Teams?

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 9, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 25:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic questions a call during the NBA season opening game against the Oklahoma City Thunder December 25, 2011 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma City defeated Orlando 97-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The more Dwight Howard talks, the more likely it is that he'll stay in Orlando. Teams need to know what the superstar would want, and that is a message that can't seem to be kept straight by D12. 

Seth Gruen of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about the possibility (or lack thereof) that Howard would end up with the Bulls this season. 

But comments he made at his team’s shootaround Thursday at the United Center indicate that the Bulls appear to be out of the ­running.

Okay, nothing to write home about there. The problem comes with some of the comments that Gruen cited. 

Concerning the Bulls:

“Nah, it’s pretty cold here.”

Then you have these two, which deal with the kind of team that he would like to play for.

“Everybody wants to be that guy to take the last shot,” Howard said. “Be that guy that everybody is leaning on for whatever reason, and I don’t think there’s any problem for wanting to be that guy.”

“I want to win, and I want to put my team in the best position to win.”

The problems with all of that extend to every team in the league. 

Clearly, if you're a team looking to make a trade for Dwight Howard, you know that it's going to cost an awful lot. The problem is that he's a pending free agent, so teams need to have a sense that he'd want to play there next season, and beyond. 

Even Jordan had Pippen to fall back on
Even Jordan had Pippen to fall back onJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

So, let's start with those last two quotes. 

He wants to be on a winning team where everyone depends on him. The problem is that a winning team can't truly depend on one player. Sure they can have a best player, but not one that everyone leans on at all times. Heck, even the Lakers have always had strong players around Kobe Bryant, just in case he was neutralized. 

Wanting to go to a place where you can win, but still be the man that everyone leans on is impossible.

If Howard wants to find a better team than the Magic, then that team have to have solid players and probably another star or two. That is going to limit dependency on one player.

Then you have the weather comment. Michael Jordan seemed to work okay in the cold weather, so did Larry Bird and Isaiah Thomas, just to name a few. The beauty of playing an indoor sport is that weather isn't really a factor. 

This flies directly in the face of just wanting to play for a winning team, or even being "the guy."

That is such an unusual request that really limits the options. Ironically enough, the place that probably best fits all of Howard's needs is Orlando. 

So going back to the original question: Will teams see these quotes, which all lie within one article, and pass on Howard? 

Logically, they have to.

A team looking to make the trade, needs to figure out a way to convince someone like Howard to stick around beyond just this season. For everything that a team would likely be giving up, even a championship wouldn't even be worth it if Howard bolted at season's end. 

The problem is that with reading those quotes, teams won't know how to put the package together to convince him to stay. 

If someone is trying to set you up on a date and in one conversation they hear you say that you like blondes but really want to meet a brunette, they don't have a lot to go on. What kind of woman are they supposed to be looking for?

Shifting back to the NBA, what kind of team does Howard want to play for?

Realistically, there's no way of knowing that.

That is the greatest problem here. His demands are not only unique, but they don't all even mesh together. Logically, there is no way that a team would be desperate enough to make a trade for him in the midst of all this uncertainty. 

At this point, any team in the NBA would be better off just taking their chances on him in free agency, building around what's already there.

Moving what's already there hoping to convince Howard to stay without knowing definitively what he wants would be far too big of a risk.