NBA Trade Speculation: 4 Dwight Howard Trades That Could Shake Up the League
The ever-mercurial Dwight Howard might be in his last days in Orlando. With a house cleaning that has seen the Magic part ways with head coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, Howard could be the next one on his way out.
Yet in light of all of this, LA’s other team also has the personnel to make a play for the big man. While a Dwight Howard for Blake Griffin deal could have Lob City up in arms, Superman would have the Clippers among the NBA's elite.
Alternatively, could the Clippers make a clever move to deal some of its prospects and bring in Dwight Howard while retaining Blake Griffin?
Ultimately, does either LA team have the right pieces to bring Superman to Hollywood?
Here are four Dwight Howard trades that could change the pecking order in the NBA next season.
Blake Griffin for Dwight Howard
With Dwight Howard on the block, the Magic are looking for a young capable player that could become its next franchise cornerstone.
While the Clippers have repeated that Blake Griffin is untouchable, could the allure of the All-NBA center catch their eye?
An incredible amount of refining would have to take place in order for their salaries to match, but with Griffin and Howard switching places both teams might finish with better seasons next year.
Lob City is in a win now situation with Chris Paul on the final year of his current contract. Howard instantly puts the Clippers among the NBA's elite and would presumably be enough to get both players to sign long-term deals with the Clips.
For all of the coach killer rhetoric surrounding him, there is no denying Howard's dominance on the floor.
Before succumbing to a back injury, Howard was putting up an impressive 20.6 PPG and 14.5 boards, while posting an efficiency rating of plus-26.35.
What Howard concedes in range to Griffin he makes up with relentless rebounding and tenacious defense.
Further, Howard's acquisition would make DeAndre Jordan expendable.
After signing a huge contract last offseason, Jordan underachieved significantly to the point that he was benched in the fourth quarter of many Clipper playoff games in favor of Kenyon Martin.
Still, many NBA executives believe that Jordan is just starting to realize his potential and would relish the opportunity to bring him in.
Currently, Jordan is not eligible to be traded, but when he is in early December could the Clippers swing him for a consistent shooting guard in the same echelon as Monta Ellis?
A team featuring Paul, Howard, Ellis and Butler would surely have the rest of the Western Conference on its heels.
This trade also makes sense for Orlando as it gives them a total identity change. Last season was marred by the poor union between Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy, as numerous PR fiascoes led many to believe that this was the most dysfunctional coach-superstar relationship in all of sports.
The Magic are open to dealing Howard and the Clippers could be the right suitor.
Griffin just finished his sophomore year, and the Magic would be eager for the opportunity to acquire the precocious PF, even at the expense of their franchise player.
Who else the Clippers would have to throw in is another story and matching salaries would be a nightmare for both teams.
While the likelihood of this deal ever materializing are slim, a Howard for Griffin deal could significantly bolster each team.
Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard
As the most dominant centers in either conference this deal makes a lot of sense for both teams.
Having parted ways with coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, the Magic are undergoing a serious change in management.
This would be the perfect opportunity to switch player personnel as well.
Bynum would be a decent replacement for Howard and could really find a consistent mojo with a change of scenery.
Alternatively, Howard would bolt the Lakers back atop the Western Conference and give the Purple & Gold a worthy franchise player once Kobe Bryant decides to hang it up.
According to ESPN.com's Trade Machine this deal would work straight up without any salary adjustments.
By putting the dominant big man in the low post and keeping PF Pau Gasol at the high post, the Lakers would have a front line more dominant than the impressive one they sport now.
Alternatively, acquiring Howard could also make Gasol more expendable. Perhaps the Lakers could find a way to send Gasol to the Rockets in a deal involving Kyle Lowry, or to the Jazz in a deal involving Devin Harris.
In order for this deal to occur, the Lakers would likely be coerced into absorbing Magic F Hedo Turkoglu's massive contract. Given GM Mitch Kupchak's track record, it would surprise no one if he found a way to do this while retaining leverage down the line.
Whether or not the Lakers are capable of revamping their roster, acquiring Howard would be quite the statement to the rest of the league.
DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and Pieces for Dwight Howard
A Howard for Jordan and pieces trade would give the Clippers one of the NBA's most dominant big threes in Paul, Griffin and Howard.
Ultimately both teams would need the perfect storm for this trade to occur. Jordan is not eligible to be dealt until early December and the Clippers have huge expectations for the fast-maturing Bledose.
Still, if Howard wants out of Orlando by Christmas time, would a package of young Clipper players entice them?
Sure, Jordan has not lived up to his huge contract, but he is just entering his fifth year. An entire offseason with Chris Paul could have Jordan in the camp for the 2012-13 Most Improved Player award.
Coming off the bench, Bledsoe developed significantly in the postseason, proving that he is capable of big time minutes. Against the Spurs and Grizzlies, Bledsoe repeatedly hounded the opposing team's best perimeter player.
The Kentucky guard's numbers are not off the charts, but he was still one of the Clips' most efficient players in the playoffs, and his intangibles helped keep Lob City hungry.
Would a package involving Jordan and Bledsoe be enough for the Magic to part ways with their big man?
It is unlikely, as the Magic would probably demand more and still want to throw in Turkoglu as part of the deal.
Regardless, the prospect of this deal happening is still incredibly compelling.
The Nontrade: Keeping Howard While Improving the Rest of the Roster
Sometimes the best trade is the one that is never made.
Magic fans are hoping this rings true as they would love to keep Howard (without the mood swings) and build a contender around him.
Currently, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick are not a championship supporting cast. This is a surprise to no one since without Superman, the Magic fell in five games to the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs.
The journeyman players that constitute most of the Magic roster are often the hardest to find suitors for.
Nevertheless, a new regime in the front office would be the perfect opportunity to find a new style of play and build around that.
Richardson and Nelson are not on their last legs yet, but the Magic need more fire power and consistency. Likely, Orlando is in a position to acquire a player via salary dump, should the numbers work out.
With Anthony Davis set to be drafted by the New Orleans Hornets, could the Magic sign Carl Landry?
Similarly, who would the Magic need to give up to acquire a player of a similar caliber to the Rockets' Luis Scola?
A new approach bolstered by small roster changes could have the Magic in contention again. Despite all the drama last season, Orlando was just three games behind the Atlanta Hawks for home court advantage in the postseason.
What will Orlando's starting lineup look like on opening night next season?
That is still a mystery but it is looking like this will be a defining summer for the long-term stability of the organization.