NBA Rumors: How Dwight Howard to Brooklyn Changes the Eastern Conference

Kris LokosCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks off the court during the game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Dwight Howard has become a joke over the last year. His play is no joke, though. Last year, a year when his commitment and effort were questioned, Howard still averaged 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 assists per game.

However, Howard made it clear that he didn’t like what was going on in Orlando. He was a major distraction and now wants to be traded out by the Magic. Because Howard signed his extension, he is still supposed to be with them through next year. But he wants out, and they want him gone.

Howard has said in the past that he wants to play for the Brooklyn Nets, and he has now said that the Nets are the only team he would re-sign with after next year if he was traded.

According to ESPN, as well as other outlets, the Nets have offered Orlando Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and first-round draft picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017. There are a lot of players there and good potential with the three draft picks. However, they are probably going to be late-round draft picks, and for losing someone as good as Howard, the Magic aren’t getting a lot of help in the proposed trade.

Still, you would have to believe that with Howard wanting to go to Brooklyn and Orlando wanting him out they will find a way to work out a deal. Once they do, the entire landscape of the Eastern Conference changes.

Right now LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat are by far the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference after winning the NBA title. There really isn’t anyone who has the power to match up against them. The Chicago Bulls have a lot of good players, like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng. Rose is a former MVP but has had trouble staying healthy. If he can’t come back or isn’t as good as before, the Bulls really aren’t that big of a threat.

Boston had a good run to the Eastern Conference Finals with their big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. However, Garnett and Pierce aren’t getting any younger, and it looks like Allen is probably going to go help an already great Miami team. They got two solid big men in the draft in Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger, but Boston still doesn’t have the same firepower Miami has. If nothing changes, Miami is basically a lock to get back to the NBA Finals.

If Howard went to Brooklyn, they would become the second favorite in the East right behind Miami and would be prepared to give them a fight. They would have their own big three of Howard, Daron Williams and Joe Johnson, whom the Nets just acquired from Atlanta. Their fourth guy would be Gerald Wallace, who has proven to be a very good defender.

The potential new big three of Howard, Williams and Johnson combined for an average of 60.2 points per game this year. Although they currently don't play together, it seems that they would improve each other’s play.

The Heat’s big three averaged 67.2 points per game, but with Howard and Williams playing against them, that number would be less against the Nets. The weaknesses Miami has shown are that they don’t play as well against good point guards and good big men. The Nets would have the best big man in the game in Howard and arguably one of the best point guards in Williams.

It is still a little early to be looking ahead, but if Howard goes to the Nets, Miami goes from having little or no competition in the East to having a tough time with Brooklyn. They would clearly be the top two teams in the conference. It will definitely be exciting to see how everything turns out.