Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has recently gone on record to the Orlando Sentinel saying, "I love Orlando. The city has been very good to me and I want to finish my career here.”
But what if the big man stops loving Orlando?
What if he decides to take his talents elsewhere?
Well, here is a list of five teams that Howard might consider joining in case he decides he doesn’t “want to win a championship and want to win it in Orlando” (Orlando Sentinel).
As Yao Ming is on his way out of Houston, the Rockets could become major players in the 2012 trade market for a center.
Dwight Howard would undoubtedly be a major upgrade over Yao while also fitting into the Rockets plan salary-wise.
With barely $35 million locked up between Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Brad Miller, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger and Kyle Lowry, Dwight Howard will be able to come to Houston and be the figure that the Rockets can build their team around for the money he wants to play for.
Adding a player of Howard’s caliber will not completely erase the troubling years Yao spent in Houston, but it will surely help many fans get over Yao’s inevitable early retirement.
New Jersey has an interesting couple of years ahead of them as new owner Mikhail Prokhorov strives to put the Nets back on the map.
Trading for Howard would almost certainly mean that Deron Williams would want to stay in Brooklyn and form a Heat-esque dream team.
The Nets will have plenty of cap space available to pound out a deal and there is no telling the level of talent Prokhorov and owner Jay-Z could lure in with Howard and Williams leading their new team.
Howard to the Nets would undoubtedly continue the current NBA transition to teams heavy in star-power and would create a renewed rivalry in the state of New York.
As Tim Duncan’s contract expires after this season, he will have the decision to make if he wants to continue playing or retire.
If he chooses the latter of the two, Dwight Howard could be the Spurs plan to replace the legendary career of Duncan.
The Spurs currently have roughly $40 million tied up between Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner, meaning they’ll have plenty of resources available to make a big splash in acquiring Howard in 2012.
The Spurs already play a great defensive game and the addition of Howard to replace the aging Duncan, things can only look up for the Spurs as they make a title run in 2011 and years to come.
While Dwight Howard spouts off at the mouth saying that he loves Orlando and playing for the Magic is “all I’ve been thinking about,” (Orlando Sentinel), he also has been very open about wanting to play in LA.
Despite Los Angeles’ roughly $30 million over the NBA cap space, if an athlete like Howard wants to play on your team, the Lakers will do everything in their power to accommodate him.
Andrew Bynum is an obvious roadblock in Howard’s plan to join Kobe in LA, but this leaves the possibility open to trade Bynum as Howard is an obvious upgrade over the Lakers current center.
Trotting out Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Dwight Howard and Ron Artest on a nightly basis would be something LA and their fans cannot pass on and in reality...they shouldn’t.
A deal involving Dwight Howard to the Knicks would solely rely on if New York can shore up some of the money owed to their veteran players.
Chauncey Billups would either have to be moved or re-sign a deal for about half of the $14.2 million he is making now, while a couple other minor moves will need to be made to free up cap space for Howard’s presumably large contract.
With the addition of Howard to the Knicks, New York will be able to give the new-look Heat a dose of their own "big-time" medicine.
Trotting out Melo, Amare, and Howard every day, plus Billups, Landy Fields, Toney Douglas, Andy Rautins and Renaldo Balkman filling in the holes on a daily basis, these new-look Knicks could do some serious damage in the East.
Howard would also help the Knicks with one of their biggest weaknesses—defense.
By adding the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to their lineup, Coach D’Antoni will be able to use Amare at the strong forward position while being comfortable with Howard’s presence down low.
This could be an all-around great acquisition for the Knicks and their loyal fans.