Surprise Teams That Should Make Shocking Last-Minute Bids for Dwight Howard
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
At this point, it seems a foregone conclusion that Dwight Howard will end up on the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers or Houston Rockets when the beginning of the 2013-2014 season rolls around. Even if the Orlando Magic won't trade him at all and he becomes an unrestricted free agent next offseason, he's going to land with one of those teams.
That said, these five teams should step up and make the Magic an offer for the services of the best center that the NBA has to offer.
Each one already has some intriguing pieces on the roster and could put together a fairly tempting package for Rob Hennigan and the Magic brass.
Read on to find out which surprising teams should make shocking last-minute bids for D12.
Please note that this is merely speculation though.
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Of the five teams represented in this article, the Atlanta Hawks would be the least shocking if they made a last-minute bid for Dwight Howard. After all, the Hawks were rumored to be after the big man at one point during the never-ending drama.
Even though they've been flying under the radar lately, the Hawks should still make a play for Howard.
Offering Jeff Teague and Al Horford would be a great way to enter the sweepstakes, leaving Howard, Josh Smith, Lou Williams and some other less-impressive players on the roster.
Plus, Smith would most likely re-sign if Howard did, and Chris Paul could potentially join the team as well.
It's a pipe dream for Hawks fans, but it's not too far out of the realm of possibilities.
Los Angeles Clippers
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Can you imagine a trio of Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin running up and down the court?
The pick-and-roll between CP3 and D12 (CD15?) would be unbelievably difficult to stop, especially with Blake improving his mid-range game and dunking over anyone and everyone in his path.
Plus, the defense would get significantly better with Howard holding down the fort in the paint and Griffin focusing more on the perimeter than he's previously done.
If the Clippers have a chance to keep both Paul and Griffin, they should offer anybody on the roster that the Orlando Magic desire for the chance to make a trade happen.
The athleticism of this team would be off the charts in the frontcourt, and Howard would have the chance to play in a major market without dealing with the shadow of Shaquille O'Neal.
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The Milwaukee Bucks are a big man away from putting together a stellar roster, so they should make a play for Dwight Howard as long as the Orlando Magic let them keep both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.
If Rob Hennigan somehow wanted a package built around Ekpe Udoh and myriad draft picks, the Bucks would have to pull the trigger.
Is that going to happen? No, probably not. However, it's at least fun to speculate about.
The Bucks would have one of the better backcourts in the NBA with their lefty point guard and scoring shooting guard, plus the league's best center.
Howard would almost single-handedly (dual-handedly, if he started blocking shots with his left hand more frequently) make up for the defensive deficiencies on the perimeter and could average nearly 20 rebounds per game if he was content to let Ellis and Jennings handle the vast majority of the scoring load.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma City Thunder have a great quartet of stars right now, but financial restrictions are going to eventually force that quartet into becoming a trio.
With Serge Ibaka and James Harden both set to enter free agency next offseason as restricted free agents, it's highly unlikely that the Thunder will be able to retain both of them once they receive max offer sheets.
Why not solve the problem now and offer either one—plus a few other intriguing young players, like Eric Maynor and Perry Jones III—to the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard?
The ideal situation would be trading the aforementioned lesser players and James Harden for Howard and building a new quartet with a defensively dominant frontcourt. If the Thunder are willing to pay the luxury tax, the sky could be the limit.
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Between Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Nick Young, Thaddeus Young (more of a power forward) and Evan Turner, the Philadelphia 76ers have way too many wing players to keep on their roster.
The logical decision would be to package a few of their players and picks, then offer that package to the Orlando Magic for the best center in the league.
A true post presence is one of the few things that the 76ers are missing, and that's exactly the role that Dwight Howard could fill.
He'd fit in perfectly with the defensive mentality of the squad and would thrive playing alongside the young athletes and deep reserves of talent in Philly.