The Magic have apparently not reached a decision on trading Dwight Howard, but it's undeniable that he'll likely be changing scenery in the next year if he doesn't agree to a long-term deal with Orlando—and there are no indications that he will agree to such a deal.
In many ways, Howard will control where his future takes him. Teams are not going to agree to land Superman without consent that he will remain long-term. It's doubtful that a team would snatch Howard up for just the 2012-2013 season, essentially renting him for a year.
Therefore, it's expected that Howard will be on the move in the offseason, or, if not then, prior to the trade deadline sometime during next year's regular season. The phone lines will surely be busy as teams make their offers for Howard, but the potential destinations are limited because he will very likely not want to sign long-term with a small market or a team that's years away from title contention.
The perfect scenario for Howard's future lands him in the Windy City with the Chicago Bulls. Why is this? There are numerous reasons.
For one, while Chicago may not be New York or Los Angeles, it's still a large market with a rich basketball history. Howard could still carve out a national legacy in this location.
Secondly, the Bulls give Howard the best chance to win championships (yes, plural).
Other potential destinations could include the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. However, the Nets feature a lackluster roster (besides Deron Williams). The Lakers possess an aging Kobe, and acquiring Howard would almost surely cost them Andrew Bynum. The Knicks haven't convinced anybody they're near title contention (and a deal for Howard would likely cost them Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire). And the Mavs are undoubtedly on the decline.
Chicago, on the other hand, has a formidable roster all around and has assets to trade to acquire Howard. Even if they had to part ways with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer and a future Bobcats first-round pick they possess, the Bulls would still have a remarkably solid core.
Imagine a starting lineup of Derrick Rose (once healthy), Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Dwight Howard. Howard should realize that such a lineup—and the opportunity to play for defensive mastermind coach Tom Thibodeau—gives him the best opportunity to win multiple championships in the coming years.
Lastly, it's time for Howard to reveal what matters most to him. As of now, it's easy to wonder. His fun-natured personality is likable, but does this guy really want to win titles? His talent is unreal, but it's time for him to show he desires to hang banners more than anything else.
If this is what matters most to him, he should request a trade to Chicago. No other team can offer him what the Bulls can. He could play in a first-class city while joining a roster that's already equipped to contend.
Quite frankly, it's not only in Howard's best interest to become a Bull, it's also in the Bulls' best interest. While their current core is highly effective, the chance to land a superstar of Howard's caliber doesn't come around very often.
This deal makes sense on both sides, but the ball is in Dwight's court. If he wants to etch a winning legacy that will be forever cherished, there's no greater option than Chicago.
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