Power Ranking Dwight Howard's Best Potential Trade Destinations
Despite perpetual exhibitions of self-indulgence, unabashed indecision and moralistic incompetence, Dwight Howard is still a wanted man.
Though the man-child himself has attempted to create a market of one for his services, there remains a bevy of teams interested in acquiring his services.
But while there are no shortage of suitors, there is a limited amount of intrigue and potential associated with some of the most aggressive of Howard hopefuls.
Certain landing spots maintain a sense of appeal and present an opportunity for redemption, while others would do little to enhance the behemoth's image and pursuit of greatness.
And much like he has avoided a sense of accountability, Howard must ensure he sidesteps the latter of these franchises.
7. Orlando Magic
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Let's call a spade a spade—Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian are more likely to reconcile than the Magic and Howard are.
While Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Orlando attempted to sway the star center one last time, all efforts were proven futile, as Howard—for the first time in nearly 18 months—stood by his current decision.
Adverse effects of the "Dwightmare" aside, though, the Magic are officially a terrible fit for the big man.
Not only is Jameer Nelson deteriorating—and now overpaid—but the team's second-leading scorer in Ryan Anderson will be setting up shop in New Orleans next season.
There's simply nothing left for Howard in Orlando, except a smorgasbord of bad memories and a docket of overly compensated, underwhelming teammates who have anything but a willingness to protect his surgically-repaired back.
6. Golden State Warriors
Photo via bayareasportstalk.blogspot.com.
At this point, the only team that is a worse fit for Howard than the Magic is the Warriors.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, as of the beginning of free agency, Golden State remained open to dealing for Howard without a guarantee he would sign an extension.
Though the Warriors have a potential low-post cornerstone in Andrew Bogut, any deal would likely cost them Stephen Curry and some additional young talent as well.
What is Golden State left with then? A superstar center playing alongside David Lee and a core of marginal role players? That's hardly enough to contend for a championship, let alone convince Howard to sign an extension or the Warriors fanbase that the team is headed in the right direction.
For all parties involved here, it would be best if Golden State's pursuit of Howard rendered itself nonexistent.
5. Houston Rockets
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Could you imagine a Howard and Jeremy Lin pick-and-roll combination?
According to Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN, the Rockets were pushing hard for Howard prior to the NBA draft. But the draft came and went, free agency hit, and the potential for such a union has become less than unlikely.
Which is a good thing.
Not only is Howard not the type of center who runs the pick-and-roll to perfection—a crucial part of Lin's game—but Houston is almost devoid of proven talents; Howard would not contend for a title with the Rockets.
Factor in the two highly lucrative contracts Houston gave to Lin and Omer Asik, and the Rockets will have no cap space available to build an exceptional supporting cast with Howard's salary in tow as well.
Howard's presence in Houston would certainly inspire a slew of initial headlines, but that in itself would be the greatest accomplishment this pairing would spark.
4. Atlanta Hawks
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Atlanta would be a good fit for Howard, but not great.
While the Hawks have expressed an interest in landing Orlando's star and have the necessary assets to make such a deal a reality, their roster, even with Howard on board, hardly guarantees title contention.
Atlanta would certainly have to relinquish Al Horford in any potential accord, but he alone would not be enough to satisfy the Magic's demands.
Would it take Jeff Teague? Or would Orlando insist on the inclusion of Josh Smith?
If the Hawks have to give up any one of those players in addition to Horford, their Howard-included ceiling becomes considerably more restricted. Not to mention, Atlanta isn't the exact type of market for which Howard has shown an affinity.
The Hawks are an intriguing and somewhat logical destination, but that means very little if they don't have the allure Howard craves.
3. Dallas Mavericks
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If Howard can go against everything he has stood for recently and exude patience, Dallas would be a great landing spot.
Though the Mavericks and Magic have discussed the possibility of a trade, Dallas has little to no assets Orlando would be interested in, essentially meaning the only way Howard joins Dirk Nowitzki is via free agency.
While the Mavericks aren't exactly a powerhouse at this point, they do have a bona fide—albeit aging—superstar in Nowitzki and an owner willing to spend whatever it takes to win in Mark Cuban.
That said, Nowitzki's age does hinder what Dallas has to offer. At 34, he won't be around much longer, and if the franchise fails to strike free agency or trade deadline gold prior to his departure, Howard could find himself in a situation that's a near carbon copy to the one he's already in.
And if he was partial to being the lone star on a team pieced together with marginal role players, the "Dwightmare" would cease to exist.
2. Brooklyn Nets
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The Nets have been Howard's preferred team all along, and they are a sensational fit, but is Brooklyn still a realistic destination?
Despite last-ditch efforts to complete a trade, the Nets and Magic were unable to strike an accord, forcing Brooklyn to re-sign center Brook Lopez—the centerpiece of any deal—while killing any chance of a trade being struck.
Until January. That's when Lopez is eligible to be traded again, and when the Nets can officially—and aggressively—re-enter the fold.
But again, is Howard willing to wait that long? Is the idea of catching entry passes from Deron Williams enough to keep him locked down in Orlando for another six months? Is the prospect of making a cameo in a Jay-Z music video bound to keep Howard's determination to be sent to Brooklyn alive and well for half a year?
I doubt it—not willingly, at least.
The Nets may be one of the best potential fits for Howard, but unless the Magic suddenly become entranced by Lopez, the idea of them waiting to unload their big man until January seems laughable.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Photo via lakerholicz.com.
The concept of Howard joining Kobe Bryant and the Lakers just works.
Though both Bryant and Steve Nash are entering the twilight years of their respective careers, Los Angeles is prepared to contend for a championship now. And according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, it's also willing to deal for Howard now.
Not only is Nash talented enough to propel Howard to offensive heights we never thought he'd reach, but Bryant is the palpable superstar partner the center has wanted, yet never had.
And while the Lakers aren't exactly the epitome of youth, Mitch Kupchak and company have a penchant for relevancy. Los Angeles is the type of market stars gawk at, are naturally intrigued by and will forever flock to.
Sure, the Nets are more of an up-and-coming organization, but they no longer have the means to trade for Howard now, and the Lakers do.
And if Howard truly wants shed his villainous persona, reprise his role as Superman and contend for a title for years to come, he'll embrace a move to Tinseltown.