The star center has many suitors—Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas being chief among them. It will take a large package to acquire Howard.
The Mavs hold the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and that will be a huge bargaining chip in their quest to get Howard. In this hypothetical scenario, a Howard to the Mavs deal, using ESPN's NBA Trade Machine, would look like this:
- Dwight Howard
- Von Wafer
- Justin Harper
- Lamar Odom
- Shawn Marion
- Brendan Haywood
- This year's 17th overall pick
- Next year's first round pick
- This year's 55th pick
This would give Orlando the 17th and 19th overall pick, along with the 49th and 55th pick. They can either keep those picks, or use them to trade up.
In this mock, the Magic will trade up. They will trade the 17th overall pick and the 49th overall pick to the Golden State Warriors for the seventh overall pick. The Warriors then would have the 17th, 30th, 35th, 49th and 52nd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Pretty good.
A Dwight Howard trade will drastically alter the draft's landscape. It will put Orlando into an aggressive mode as they try to rebuild, and will give Golden State a ton of picks with which to improve their team.
Anthony Davis is, by a consensus, the top player in the draft and is all but assured of going to the Hornets as the number one pick.
The 6'10" freshman helped lead Kentucky to the national championship. He has a unique blend of size, speed, explosiveness, and ability that makes him a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Right now, he would be one of the best defensive players in the league. He has some work to do, however, on the offensive side of the ball.
However, Davis is a legitimate star and will help New Orleans get back into contention. Combining him with Eric Gordon will create a dynamic one-two punch.
Charlotte has a lot of needs, so they could go a number of ways with this pick.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would help to start a culture change. The hard-working, tenacious forward will bring a ton of energy to defense.
He's not the best offensively, but he's only 19 and will grow into that role. He has all the requisite traits to become a better offensive player with time.
Thomas Robinson had a terrific junior season and is primed to have a great career in the NBA.
At 6'10", Robinson is high-energy and a great rebounder.
He has some work to do on the offensive side of the ball, but he's already good posting up on the low block.
Robinson projects a double-double guy in the pros and will provide an instant impact.
The Cavaliers found their point guard in Kyrie Irving last season and now they need to give him some help.
Harrison Barnes would go a long way towards doing just that. The former number one overall recruit didn't quite play to expectations in college, but he has a NBA-ready body.
Barnes is very polished offensively and is a great shooter.
He's not the best at creating his own shots, but with Irving on board, he won't have to do that. Irving and Barnes would create a very good one-two punch to help Cleveland get back on track.
Beal is an explosive player who would look nice alongside Tyreke Evans in Sacramento.
Beal is a good shooter, but excels more at driving and making plays. He also has a good defensive upside.
Beal could also shift to small forward if necessary, despite being only 6'4". The Kings put Tyreke Evans at the three last year, so having someone like Beal would give the Kings more options.
Beal will turn 19 on draft day, so he's not yet a finished product, but he's brimming with upside and has star potential.
The Blazers desperately need a point guard, as Raymond Felton, Jonny Flynn and Jamal Crawford are all slated to be free agents.
Lillard could be the best floor general in this class. He's a pure scorer, who can shoot from anywhere and is also careful with the rock.
He's coming from a smaller level of competition and while he dominated as the Big Sky player of the year, there's a big jump from Weber State to the NBA.
Now that the Magic have traded Dwight Howard, and used the picks received in the trade to move up to number seven overall, they'll need a replacement.
Andre Drummond has perhaps the most pure talent of any big man outside of Anthony Davis. The question is whether he wants it enough.
Drummond had a tough season at UCONN, but showed flashes of greatness. He has great size and bulk and is NBA ready physically.
He has elite athletic ability and explosive movement. He gets up and down the court with speed.
Drummond's issues, however, come from a lack of polish and major questions about his work ethic. He is a work-in-progress and might not be ready to make an impact on day one. He never played with tenacity and often coasted on his physical ability in college.
However, the Magic need someone to replace Howard and Drummond offers the best chance of doing that.
The 6'5" Lamb has nice scoring range and is a good shooter.
The knock on Lamb is that he doesn't always play with the highest intensity. If he can ratchet that up, he should be a top scorer in this league.
Lamb is only 19, so he has time to mature and also grow into his frame. With some time in the weight-room, there's no telling how good of a player Lamb can be.
Detroit would love another big man to pair with Greg Monroe, and Meyers Leonard fits the bill.
The 7'1", 250-pound Leonard has rare size and is very athletic.
He is still a bit of a work in progress, but he has a NBA-ready body and will be able to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Combining Monroe and Leonard will be a very lethal combo and will give Detroit one of the league's most promising front-courts.
With Anthony Davis on board and Eric Gordon in tow, adding a pass-first point guard would be a wise decision for the Hornets.
Kendall Marshall is the very definition of a pass-first floor general. He was second in the NCAA in assists per game at 9.8.
He has excellent vision and is a tremendous passer. He will be able to feed the ball to Gordon and Davis and improve their offense drastically.
Dion Waiters is an explosive scorer who is also tenacious on defense.
The former Syracuse star came off the bench mostly in college, and was able to provide instant offense.
He could fill that role in Portland or start. Either way, the 6'4" guard should be able to replace Jamal Crawford's production at two-guard.
The Bucks traded away Andrew Bogut and now select his replacement.
Zeller, the ACC Player of the Year, averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season.
He's smart and a good athlete and should be a sound big man for years to come.
At 7'1", 241-pounds, Zeller has a NBA body and should be able to battle with other big men early on.
Phoenix is in the market for an explosive 2-guard and Rivers fits that bill.
He's a good ball-handler and can make tough shots.
He struggles defensively, but has room to grow on his 203-pound frame. With some time, he should turn into a solid defender.
Rivers would give Steve Nash a weapon to work with, something he hasn't had in some time.
The Rockets need front-court help and John Henson is the best one available.
Henson is a top-notch defensive player who might be the second best defensive player in this draft, behind Anthony Davis.
He desperately needs to bulk up, as he's only at 216 pounds. That will only help his defensive game.
He has some solid moves in the post, but they are still developing.
Henson would help ease the loss of Marcus Camby, who's a free agent.
Perry Jones has long been an enigma, but one thing is certain: he's very talented.
At 6'11", he has great athletic ability and can run the floor and handle the ball.
The biggest concern is that he doesn't play hard.
Getting Jones to play hard with a NBA contract will be tough. But he has top-5 talent, so getting him at 15 is a steal for the Sixers, who have a need at power forward.
Adding Jones to Henson will transform the previously weak front-court to a strength for the Rockets.
Jones is a good passer, rebounder and scorer and can also play some small forward.
Jones would probably come off the bench, but he would be a nice contributor to the Rockets.
Golden State received this pick in our hypothetical Dwight Howard trade.
The Warriors need front-court help and the Big East Freshman of the Year will do just that.
Harkless averaged 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals.
Harkless reminds some evaluators of Trevor Ariza for his all-around game. Harkless could end up having a big impact on the defensive side of the ball and will help Golden State turn back into a contender.
Pairing the explosive Terrence Ross with Ricky Rubio will put up a lot of points for the T'Wolves.
At 6'7", Ross has great size for a two-guard. He can slash to the basket. He's a great athlete, as well.
Ross averaged 16.4 points while shooting for 37.1 percent from three-point land.
Ross is also a good defender who uses his size effectively.
Adding Ross to Rubio and Kevin Love will make the Timberwolves fun to watch.
Orlando would love to add a slashing two-guard to their squad, and Barton fits the bill.
He averaged 18 points last season, along with eight rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals.
He's a good shooter who has the length and athletic ability to become a standout defender.
Even after trading Howard, the Magic will now combine Barton with Drummond, Marion, Odom and Haywood to create a decent enough roster.
Denver needs a backup behind Ty Lawson, and Wroten has the size to also play two-guard.
Wroten, at 6'6", can play a combo-guard role in the pros.
He's a great athlete who can get to the rim at will.
Wroten has the size and athletic ability to become a stand-out defender, but he's not yet a finished product.
Still, Wroten has great potential and could play a valuable role off the bench.
Boston desperately needs interior help and adding Melo would help that.
At 7'0", Melo is an intimidating defensive presence. He improved his defensive ability this past season.
He's quick and agile for his size. On offense, he's a work in progress, but in Boston, they would need him to perform defensively first and foremost.
Adding a true center would do wonders for the Celtics, who haven't been the same since they traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City.
With Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass slated to be free agents, the C's need all the interior depth they can get.
Arnett Moultrie could be a nice option. He has great size at 6'11" and can run the floor.
For a man his size, he's good with the ball in his hands, and is a bit of a playmaker.
On the defensive side, he's a little bit of a work in progress, as he doesn't always play with the requisite tenacity needed to succeed on that end. Playing with the veteran Boston team should help him get in line.
He's a talent who could replace Bass and help the Celtics improve their front-court.
Quincy Miller is a talented kid who hasn't quite put it together yet.
At 6'10", he reminds some of Kevin Durant. He has a smooth game. He can get to the basket as well as shoot.
Miller's problem is inconsistency, as he has yet to put a streak of solid games together.
But he has all the athletic ability to succeed in the league. Combining him with Josh Smith will create an explosive front-court for the Hawks.
Antwan Jamison is slated to be a free agent, so the Cavs need a power forward to replace him.
At 6'9", Andrew Nicholson could fill that void. Nicholson has a good post game, along with decent shooting ability. He's able to create for himself and others.
On defense, he will need to bulk up to make an impact. He also doesn't always play aggressively and will need to improve that at the NBA level.
However, Nicholson has a NBA-ready offensive game and should help Kyrie Irving and the Cavs improve.
Memphis desperately need point guard depth. They became so desperate, they signed Gilbert Arenas as a backup.
Drafting Marquis Teague would help solve this problem. Teague, whose brother Jeff plays for the Hawks, is a lightning-quick guard who is a nightmare to defend on the fast-break.
Teague is an excellent driver and uses his speed to blow by defenders. He's a good passer who is as comfortable distributing the ball as he is scoring with it.
Teague suffers in half-court sets, as he isn't able to use his speed. He plays his best on the run, in an up-tempo system.
On defense, Teague uses his speed and lateral ability to stay close with his man.
As a backup, Teague can learn to play in more traditional, half-court system, while using his speed to spark his team.
Royce White is a point forward with an intriguing skill set.
He can bring the ball up, pass it or drive to the hoop. He is also efficient in the post.
White is a good rebounder and works hard on defense, but struggles against bigger, more physical opponents.
White comes with concerns, as he's had legal trouble in the past and has a well-documented fear of flying. NBA teams will be wary about both.
If teams are comfortable with White off the court, they'll find that he can be a very effective player on the court and will be an excellent addition to any squad.
Despite winning the NBA championship, the Heat could use a true center. Miles Plumlee is just that.
Plumlee struggled at Duke and never turned into the player he was expected to be.
However, he's a legitimate seven-footer with good rebounding skills. Those don't grow on trees.
While Plumlee is a work in progress, the Heat don't need him to contribute right away. They have the luxury of allowing him to develop and seeing what happens.
It's a low risk, high reward pick for the champs, and one that could pay off down the road.
Oklahoma City would love depth behind Kevin Durant, and Vanderbilt's Jeff Taylor could provide that.
The 6'7" senior averaged 16.1 points last season. He's a great athlete who has developed nicely in his time at Vandy.
Taylor is a good shooter, who shot 42.3 percent from three point land. He also has the potential to be a great defender. As a senior, he's more NBA ready than most.
Taylor will provide depth behind Durant, as well as forming with Thabo Sefolosha to create a lockdown defensive duo.
The Thunder aren't far from winning it all, and adding a valuable contributor like Taylor could help put them over the top.
Derrick Rose tore his ACL in late April and is expected to be out for eight to 12 months.
An optimistic return puts him back on the court in December. ACL's are tricky, and it could be longer.
The Bulls desperately need point guard help. Tyshawn Taylor is the best one available.
At 6'3", Taylor possesses elite speed and a good jump shot. He can drive to the hoop effectively.
He's also a good defender who uses his size and speed effectively.
Taylor, however, often plays out of control and turns the ball over too much. He'll need to rein that in at the next level.
With Rose out, the Bulls need a point guard and passing on Taylor would be foolish.
Sullinger's slide ends here.
Jared Sullinger is probably a top-10 talent, but his back issues are causing him to fall.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN, Sullinger's back issues have caused some teams to take him off their board completely. According to Ford, some team doctors think his back issues could make Sullinger's NBA career a short one.
Still, at 30, he's too big of a value to pass up for the Warriors. He's very savvy in the post and is NBA ready offensively.
On defense, Sullinger tries hard, but is limited by his size and lack of athletic ability.
Still, he projects as a beast in the post and will give Golden State more front-court depth.