Five Teams Dwight Howard Should Consider

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IMarch 11, 2012

Five Teams Dwight Howard Should Consider

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    As the NBA trade deadline approaches, rampant speculation continues, surrounding more than a few star players, including Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, Andrew Bogut and others.

    The biggest gem on the market is All-Star and first-team All-NBA center Dwight Howard, who has said in the past that he would play for only four teams: the Magic, Nets, Lakers and Mavericks.

    The three other teams mentioned do not seem to have the firepower to make a trade, and they also might not have the cap space to sign him.

    Here are five other teams that Dwight should consider playing for.

Chicago Bulls

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    How to Get D-12: Trade/Amnestying Carlos Boozer and being creative with their money

    The Chicago Bulls are possibly the most obvious choice for Dwight Howard because they have all of the elements that he is yearning for. With a big-city appeal, D-12 will get more endorsement deals and will play on one of the biggest stages.

    On top of that, the Bulls stand in first place in the Eastern Conference, led by All-NBA guard Derrick Rose. They possess solid role players in Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.

    The Bulls do have the pieces to make a trade with the Magic, likely giving up either Noah or Deng, along with Gibson, Omer Asik and possibly Boozer.

    If Howard tests free agency, Chicago can make enough cap space by likely using its "Amnesty Clause" on Boozer while trading Noah for a minimal salary.

    With both of these factors, Howard should definitely consider suiting up for the Bulls. 

Boston Celtics

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    How to Get D-12: Free Agency

    The Boston Celtics also present Howard with a big-city appeal, along with the fact that they can build completely around him.

    For one, the Celtics will have an enormous amount of cap space to work with this offseason, likely being able to sign Dwight Howard while also being able to pick up quality pieces to surround the likely core of Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Howard.

    With three 2012 All-Stars and a solid supporting cast, the Celtics will join the upper-echelon of the Eastern Conference. In addition, Howard will be part of a "winning tradition," as Boston has won 17 NBA championships.

    And can you imagine Rondo throwing alley-oops to Dwight Howard?

    The major question is if Danny Ainge will keep Pierce and Rondo on the roster past the trade deadline. Losing one or both would likely veer Howard away from Boston, as this situation would likely be worse than Orlando.

Houston Rockets

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    How to Get D-12: Trade

    For the last few years, the Houston Rockets have been a solid, yet mediocre team. Boasting a wide array of role players, Houston stands at 22-19, good for seventh in the Western Conference.

    Their biggest flaw is at the 5, as they struck out on both Marc Gasol and Nene during the offseason. Howard would be a huge upgrade over Samuel Dalembert.

    The Rockets will struggle to have the cap space to sign Howard, meaning they will need to trade for his services. Lucky for them, Houston can offer a package including Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, both of whom are solid role players.

    From there, the Magic can pick and choose more playerss to include in the package, with Kyle Lowry likely not off limits. Houston is also a large market, giving Howard move advertising opportunities.

    However, will a D-12 trade leave Houston barren of talent?

Indiana Pacers

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    How to Get D-12: Free Agency/Trade

    Probably the most intriguing option in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, the Indiana Pacers have both the cap space and the players to trade for Howard.

    Indiana currently sits in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, taking a huge leap from its eighth-place finish of last year. With a core of Paul George, Danny Granger, Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert, the Pacers look to be one of the emerging teams in the league.

    For a few months now, the Pacers have been linked to Rajon Rondo, an All-Star point guard in his own right. If Indiana can swing a deal to net Rondo, without losing too much of its core, it might be in perfect position to swoop in and get D-12 through free agency.

    The Pacers have a large amount of cap and can offer Howard a huge deal, but they do lack a large market. With Howard wanting to play in a big pond, the Pacers might have a hard time convincing him to sign. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    How to Get D-12: Trade

    According to several rumors, Otis Smith gave Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti a tantalizing offer, offering up D-12 in exchange for James Harden and Serge Ibaka. 

    Obviously, Presti denied the offer because he does not want to rent Howard and give up two of his major young pieces, especially with the Thunder rolling through the Western Conference. Yet, pairing the best big man of this generation with Kevin Durant should be re-visited.

    David Daniels of Bleacher Report called the Thunder "clinically insane to close the door on [a] Dwight Howard offer." In fact, I completely agree.

    If Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can convince Howard to sign with the Thunder long-term, Oklahoma City would boast three top-15 players in the league. In addition, they have one of the more reliable coaches in the league in Scott Brooks.

    If Howard goes to Oklahoma City, the Heat might have to watch their throne.