NBA Trade Rumors: Ranking the Potential Suitors in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes
The Dwight Howard rumors have dominated the rumor mill for close to a year now and several people, including Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops have reported that a deal for Howard could come down as soon as Wednesday.
Sheridan said via Twitter:
Source on Dwight Howard trade: "It's all coming to a head." Translation: He's being dealt somewhere today.— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) July 11, 2012
Everyone from the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have been tied to Howard in recent days.
With the Howard saga potentially coming to an end, here's a look at the top suitors for the six-time All-Star.
5. Orlando Magic
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That's right Magic fans.
While many would like to see an ending to the Howard soap opera, new general manager Rob Henigan is not going to deal his franchise player just for the sake of dealing him.
If the right offer doesn't come in, then Howard will still be in a Magic uniform and we could see a repeat of the circus that was the 2012 season.
4. Houston Rockets
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Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the the Rockets are still making a play to acquire Howard and spending very little time on the three-way scenario with the Lakers that was previously reported.
Rockets remain strongly engaged w/ Orlando in direct talks for Dwight Howard, sources tell Y! They've spent little time on 3-way scenarios.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2012
The Rockets have a wealth of young talent to offer and draft picks for the future.
If they attempt to pursue other options, they can still potentially acquire Andrew Bynum if it turns into a three-way deal.
3. Atlanta Hawks
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The Hawks remain the sleeper team in all of this as ESPN's Marc Stein reports.
Hawks, I'm told, still think they're alive in Dwight trade chase. With plenty of pieces to offer and Josh Smith to lobby Howard to stay— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2012
Atlanta has Jeff Teague, Al Horford, a package of picks and Howard's friend Josh Smith to convince him to stay. The package that the Hawks can offer is much more attractive than the one the Brooklyn Nets can throw at Orlando, so the Hawks, while a long shot, stay in the mix.
Despite Atlanta being Howard's hometown, he seems to have very little interest in playing for the Hawks.
2. Brooklyn Nets
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The Nets remain Howard's preferred decision so they remain in the chase, but Brook Lopez throws a big wrench in their plans.
Stein reports that Lopez could sign a max-deal with Portland or Charlotte, which the Nets fear.
Among Nets' reasons to push for Dwight finality today, sources say, is fear Blazers will sign RFA Brook Lopez after Indy matched on Hibbert— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2012
Wojnarowski also reported that the Nets and Lopez are close to agreeing to a max deal.
If Lopez were to sign, he couldn’t be traded until December. And according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, talks between the Nets and Magic have been “quiet” as of late.
In addition, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers were never close to pulling the trigger on the proposed four-team trade reported earlier in the week.
After spending most of Tuesday negotiating with Rockets and Lakers, Orlando has re-engaged Brooklyn today, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2012
The Nets remain in the hunt because they are Howard's preferred destination, but they really don't have the assets to put together an attractive package and definitely can't put one together without Lopez.
Their chances are getting worse by the day.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
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Whether it be the Rockets or someone else, the Lakers will need a third team involved to provide the Magic with the necessary cap relief to make a deal.
In addition, the Lakers don't have the draft picks needed to offer the Magic.
But they do have Andrew Bynum, who is the most attractive trade chip being talked about in the Howard sweepstakes.
If the Lakers can keep Houston involved for Bynum, they can make this deal work, becoming the favorites to acquire the All-Star center, although someone will have to take on a ton of money to make it happen.