Dwight Howard Will End Up with the Dallas Mavericks as a Free Agent

Sam Quinn@@Samquinn23Contributor IIIJuly 29, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 30:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives aganst Ian Mahinmi #28 of the Dallas Mavericks during the game at Amway Center on March 30, 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)
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The Lakers, Nets and Rockets have all made their plays. Orlando has begged him to reconsider staying.

In the end though, it appears to me that the only logical ending to this "Dwightmare" is Howard signing with Dallas next summer.

How did I arrive at that conclusion? Well, consider the following:

The two teams Howard supposedly wants (Brooklyn and Los Angeles) don't have any cap space. This means for trading purposes, they don't have any leverage. Howard cannot simply say: "If you don't trade me, I will walk to the Nets or Lakers this summer."

Even though it seems fairly obvious that Howard wants to be traded, his injury is going to make it very hard for a rental team like Houston to do it. Given his clear immaturity and overall lack of caring for the well-being of anyone not named Howard, I can't imagine him working hard to get back in playing shape for a team he doesn't want to play for.

There's also the fact that Orlando simply hasn't been blown away by any offers. You can't blame them for not wanting to pay Brook Lopez max money, and why trade for Andrew Bynum only to watch him walk next summer?

It almost makes more sense for Orlando to gamble that there aren't any suitable free agent destinations and he'll have to come back to the Magic

The problem is, Dallas is a suitable free-agent destination. Dirk Nowitzki is a legitimate superstar. They have some solid supporting pieces like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Shawn Marion locked up as well.

With Dwight Howard, they could absolutely win a championship.

Here's the catch—Dallas doesn't look like a big enough threat on paper for Orlando to really fear them.

Orlando could easily talk themselves into the fact that they can offer Howard more money, Dirk Nowitzki is going to retire soon, and no other teams will make serious offers to Dwight.

I think you know where this is going, but I'll spell it out just in case. It looks to me like Orlando will hold on to Dwight in a misguided attempt to convince him to stay. When they fail, Dallas is the only real destination available.

In other words, short of a drastic change in the landscape of this situation, the Dallas Mavericks are suddenly the heavy favorites to land Howard as a free agent. The irony here is that the Lakers had a whole year to offer Andrew Bynum and didn't, and Brooklyn blew their chance by overpaying Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.

In other words, Dallas is going to luck into Dwight Howard just because two other teams screwed up their chances.

Is this a guarantee? Of course not, with Howard anything is possible. For all we know he could demand a trade to Milwaukee next week. This is just how I see things playing out.