NBA Rumors: Dwight Howard and 16 Players Who May Be on the Move Next Season

Ryan Braun@@rycotaincAnalyst IMarch 4, 2011

NBA Rumors: Dwight Howard and 16 Players Who May Be on the Move Next Season

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    Is Dwight Howard the next to go?

    It’s a sad state of affairs in the NBA when the factor most likely keeping stars in their cities is the prospective lack of a new CBA.

    But should said new CBA be reached, a rash of player movement is likely to follow.

    The following are the guys we suspect will be involved.

    Honorable mentions for this list were Jamal Crawford (who I think stays in Atlanta), and DeShawn Stevenson (who I pray goes to Miami).

16. Anthony Parker, SG, Cavs

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    Anthony Parker will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and to echo the sentiments of many a Cavs fan, good for him.

    Versatile, steady, and remarkably even keeled, AP deserves to be on a team where his talents can be noticed. (Like the 2009-10 Cavs.)

    He’s remarkably professional and still capable of contributing to an upper echelon team.

15. Tayshaun Prince, SF, Pistons

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    One of the only remaining members of the Pistons' championship team, Tayshaun will be out of Detroit the day the season ends. 

    It’s been years since we’ve seen the Kentucky product performing at optimum level, but Prince is still relatively sprightly at 31-years-old.

    With his defensive capabilities intact, TP could prove valuable to a number of contenders.

    (Special thanks to Travis Hill, he of significant Piston knowledge.)

14. Andrei Kirilenko, SF, Jazz

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    Long, lanky, and still productive, Kirilenko is an upcoming unrestricted free agent on a Jazz team in flux; essentially the Russian Tayshaun Prince.

    AK47 has stayed relatively healthy this year while putting up solid numbers across the board (12 ppg, 5.5 reb, 3.1 ast, 1.3 stl, 1.2 blk).

    Kirilenko has said he’d like to return to the Jazz as recently as last year, but since that time has seen Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams leave.

    With Utah retooling, I can’t help but think he’ll find a more substantial role elsewhere.

13. Richard Hamilton, SG, Pistons

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    Let’s just say both sides are working on finding Rip a way out of town.

    Now a notorious malcontent, the only thing keeping the 33-year-old Hamilton in Detroit are the final years of a contract that pays him $12,650,000 this season and next. The longer he lasts with the Pistons, the less Rip will be losing in a buyout and the greater the likelihood a trade is consummated. 

    Look for it to happen this summer pre-draft, or next season pre-deadline.

12. O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies

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    I remain unconvinced formerly thrifty owner Michael Heisley will be up for spending the money to resign both Rudy Gay and Randolph. But if he does, Mayo is the one to lose out. At least as it pertains to staying in Memphis.

    The Bulls came looking for O.J. at the trade deadline, and there is little reason they won’t re-initiate those talks this summer.

11. Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies

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    It’s one or the other in Memphis, and Zach Randolph is still at risk.

    Though Heisley would be lambasted for letting Randolph go, there were rumblings he was looking into doing just that at the trade deadline.

    If you’re willing to outspend Michael Heisley, Zach Randolph (he of 20 points and 13 rebounds) is yours.

10. Greg Oden, C, Trail Blazers

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    As hard as it would be for Portland to cut ties, I suspect they’re close to doing so.

    In the wake(s) of a myriad of high ceiling-ed disappointments, the Blazers will be looking for some stability. LaMarcus Aldridge is now the face of the franchise, and I’m not so sure the Blazers are willing to sacrifice his development to free up room for Oden.

    Oden has played in 82 career games since being drafted first overall in 2007. When healthy, he has shown increasingly promisingly glimpses of the talent many thought he had—he just needs to find a way to stay on the court.

    He averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 boards, and 2.3 blocks in just under 24 minutes a game last season.

    I’d like to say he’s just getting started.

9. Anderson Varejao, PF/C, Cavs

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    Let me begin by saying that I know for a fact the Cavs are not actively looking to trade Varejao. They see him as an integral part of the rebuilding process and a player extremely difficult to replace.

    The Cavs would have to be blown away by an offer consisting mainly of picks and young prospects to even consider parting ways with him.

    The reason he’s on this list is that I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that they get that offer.

    Varejao is exactly the type of player every contender could use, and every up and coming contender will need. Oklahoma City got their big, but there are plenty of other teams sitting on assets who could use Andy desperately.

    The Cavs won’t give him away, but he could be pried.

8. David West, PF, Hornets

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    Carl Landry coming in was a big deal. West is a UFA (ETO), which means he has the option to terminate the last year of his contract. Those options aren’t always exercised, but with David West due to receive only $7.5 million (how do you feed your family on $7.5 million?), it’s pretty safe to assume he will be employing said option.

    There will be a market for a 19-8 PF who figures to have three or four more years of productivity left.

    West is good, but he’s not quite the player he was two years ago. With the capable Landry on board, I doubt the NBA-owned Hornets will be willing to outbid for his services.

7. Yao Ming, C, Rockets

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    Like Oden, but sadder.

    Before the injuries started about five years ago, Yao was developing into the player we all hoped he'd be. Right now, he should be battling Dwight Howard for the title of best big in the game.

    As it stands, he’s reached an Ilgauskas-like crossroads.

    "Yao Ming is like a meadow...


    And no longer contractually obligated to play in Houston."

6. Ray Allen, SG, Celtics

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    I couldn’t see him wanting to leave unless he felt insulted. But in the wake of the Perkins deal, it’s no longer a given that he won’t.

    The Bulls will be salivating over the prospect of adding a critical piece at the expense of a premiere rival, although they're perhaps the only potential fit for Allen leaving voluntarily. 

    That Tom Thibodeau is Chicago's coach doesn’t hurt their chances.

5. Deron Williams, PG, Nets

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    This would only happen if Prokhorov realizes he’s in trouble, and I don’t think he’s the self-conscious type.

    But looking at the New Jersey roster—one which has traded away all means of non-FA improvement—why would Deron stay?

    He’s on a team that is, at best, the seventh seed in the conference, and at worst—draft pick-less lottery fodder.

    Keeping Deron in New Jersey may take more than Prokhorov is contractually able to offer.

4. Chauncey Billups, PG, Knicks

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    Now New York's most notable trade bait, Billups will again find himself dangled as a means to land a bigger fish.

    Be aware however, that there are few bigger fish than Billups.

    Chauncey, now 34, continues to play at a high level and his steady hand is helping the Knicks transition to Carmelo-era.

    Through four games with NY, Billups is averaging 23.3 points and 6 assists.

3. Chris Paul, PG, Hornets

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    We’re watching an era where playing on an average team is considered unacceptable, and there is little to no responsibility for such status placed at the feet of a star.

    But that’s my LeBron spiel. The Hornets are a mess, and that much of their floundering is through no fault of Paul is enough reason for an exodus.

    As soon as a new CBA is established, New York will be chomping at the bit to complete their own Big Three.

2. Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers

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    Phil Jackson will be gone, and it will be up to Mitch Kupchak to reconstruct a foundation meant to extend beyond Kobe Bryant.

    Is Bynum a part of that, or will Kupchak ultimately decide that such a foundation cannot be built on shaky legs?

    Has Bynum’s proven playoff effectiveness reinforced his value, or will the Rockets trouble with Yao Ming encourage Kupchak to sell high?

    Whichever path is chosen, it has now become clear that the Lakers' future prospects will coincide with those of the seven-footer from New Jersey.

1. Dwight Howard, C, Magic

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    I’d like to go on record as saying I hope he stays in Orlando. There’s still hope he might.

    But coming off the heels of LeBron and Carmelo (and of soon-to-leave Chris Paul), I have to believe that the Magic will sell at the first inkling of flirtation. 

    And while, to his credit, Dwight Howard is thus far having none of it, the stress of that realization seems to have worn on the Magic already.

    Anything short of a title this year, and LA and NY will come calling.