NBA Trade Scenarios: 10 Teams That Need Dwight Howard the Most

Jim MancariCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

NBA Trade Scenarios: 10 Teams That Need Dwight Howard the Most

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    If given the chance, all 30 NBA teams would jump at the opportunity to acquire Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Pure and simple, Howard is a beast.

    He is arguably the best two-way player in the game today. With one game to go, Howard will likely finish the regular season averaging 23.0 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

    Not only is he the face of the Orlando Magic franchise, but he is also quickly establishing himself as one of the NBA’s most marketable players.

    If he continues the pace he’s playing at, Howard will go down as one of the most dominant big men of all-time.

    However, Howard will be a free agent after the 2011-12 season, and already the speculation about where he will play next has commenced.

    If the Magic know it won’t be able to re-sign him, the team may try to move him sooner rather than later to receive as much value as possible. The Magic could also explore a sign-and-trade scenario for their center.

    Though every team would want to make a run at Howard, here are 10 teams that need him most.

10. Dallas Mavericks

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    In terms of basketball talent, the Dallas Mavericks have one of the most dynamic rosters in the NBA.

    After bouncing around for nine seasons, Dallas center Tyson Chandler, had a breakout season, averaging 10.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

    Chandler is a free agent after this season, and the Mavericks should look to lock him up.

    However, Dallas could instead pursue Dwight Howard in a trade this offseason. Though still productive, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd won’t be around forever, so acquiring Howard would give the Mavericks some stability for the future.

    In addition to his presence on the court, Howard would team up with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to form a sportswriter’s dream. Both are colorful personalities that would form an interesting combination.

    The Mavericks are still considered second-class citizens to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs out west, but Howard would instantly change that label.

9. New Orleans Hornets

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    Like Dwight Howard, All-Star point guard Chris Paul is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2011-12 season. He’s already drawn plenty of attention from teams wanting to add one of the top point guards in the game.

    New Orleans Hornets’ co-captain David West is a free agent after this season, and his injury troubles may force the Hornets to pursue other options.

    As of now, the Hornets are an afterthought in the Western Conference. New Orleans is the type of team that makes the playoffs every year, but usually is eliminated in the first or second round.

    If New Orleans can swing a trade for Howard, the Hornets would become championship contenders.

    More importantly, acquiring Howard—assuming he signs a multi-year contract with New Orleans—could keep Paul in a Hornets uniform long-term. These two would form an unstoppable duo.

8. Houston Rockets

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    The last few seasons for Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming have been a blur. The seven-footer has spent more time off the court than he has on.

    He only played in five games this season after suffering a stress fracture to his left ankle.

    Yao will be a free agent after this season, but the injury is expected to sideline him into next season, according to ESPN

    The Rockets have been patient with the former No. 1 overall pick, but when will this patience run out?

    Houston will easily be able to move on from Yao if they can bring in Dwight Howard. The Rockets have some nice complimentary players in Luis Scola and Kevin Martin, but the team lacks a dominant presence on the glass whenever Yao is sidelined with injury.

    It might be hard to picture Yao on a different team, but Rockets fans wouldn’t mind if Howard called Houston home.

7. San Antonio Spurs

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    The Spurs have locked up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, which earned San Antonio its 14th straight playoff appearance.

    So why would they need Dwight Howard?

    Tim Duncan is a free agent after this season, and the 13-time All-Star is finally showing signs of slowing down. This season, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had the luxury of benching Duncan for entire quarters at a time since his team overmatched its opponents.

    Duncan’s health has been an issue, so the Spurs may decide to move in another direction. That’s where Howard comes in.

    Howard would be able to account for the production of Duncan, and then some. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili would still have a scoring force to find down low.

    Even if the Spurs re-sign Duncan to a short-term deal, pursuing Howard makes sense for the team now.

6. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard playing together is a scary thought for opposing teams.

    The Lakers may enter the Howard sweepstakes in order to keep him away from the other Western Conference powers. Though the team has won back-to-back NBA championships and will look for a “three-peat” this year, the Lakers are always looking for ways to improve their roster.

    A trade with the Orlando Magic would almost certainly involve Lakers young center Andrew Bynum as well as draft picks and several NBA-caliber role players.

    ESPN’s Mike and Mike predicted around this year’s trade deadline that Howard would eventually wind up with the Lakers.

    Bryant would likely fill up both hands with championship rings if Howard joins the Lakers.

5. Boston Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics are another team that seems to be in a good position with their “Big Four.”

    However, after this season, Shaquille O’Neal, Nenad Krstic and Glen “Big Baby” Davis will all be free agents. The Celtics will still have Jermaine O’Neal, but he isn’t the player he once was.

    The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat each finished ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference this year and will look to unseat the reigning conference champs.

    Adding Dwight Howard would shore up a front line that already includes Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, forming a deadly trio and the makings of a dynasty.

    The only problem here involves who the Celtics would give up in a trade with the Magic. Orlando may ask for Rajon Rondo, and the Celtics may balk at that request.

4. New York Knicks

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    Though the New York Knicks just acquired Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to go along with Amar’e Stoudemire, they still appear to be just a .500 team.

    Anthony and Stoudemire still haven’t built the chemistry needed to get the Knicks over the hump.

    Dwight Howard would change everything in New York.

    While Stoudemire sometimes plays center, the Knicks need a bruiser in the paint, and Howard fits the bill.

    Howard, Anthony and Stoudemire would comprise arguably the best front line ever assembled.

    After the Melo trade, however, the Knicks may have to wait until Howard becomes a free agent to sign him. By that time, another team may have pulled the trigger on a trade.

3. Miami Heat

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    LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard?

    The one thing the Heat lack is a scoring big man, which may lead Miami to pursue Howard.

    After all the ups and downs this year, the Heat secured the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference and will hope to advance as far as possible in the playoffs.

    When the “New Big Three” was assembled, Howard voiced his opinion regarding all the hype the Heat received. According to AOL News, Howard was tired of the topic and longed for the chance to take on Miami.

    As such, joining the Heat may be a long shot for Howard, but that doesn’t mean Miami couldn’t use him.

2. New Jersey Nets

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    Usually when a team improves its win total by 12 games from year-to-year, it is knocking on the door of a playoff berth.

    Even with the addition of All-Star point guard, Deron Williams, the New Jersey Nets will come up short of the playoffs.

    However, the team showed bursts of energy late this season that bode well for next year.

    Williams underwent wrist surgery and will be 100 percent healthy for the start of 2011-12 season. Kris Humphries was a rebounding machine, and Brook Lopez finally took strides into becoming a strong two-way player.

    Despite the trade for Williams, the Nets may still have the necessary talent to strike a deal with Orlando for Dwight Howard. According to Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record, Lopez, and possibly even Humphries, would likely be involved in the deal.

    Though the cost will be high, acquiring Howard could mean that Williams stays put. These two would lead a formidable charge into Brooklyn, where the Nets would become instant contenders for the Eastern Conference crown.

    The Nets will need to be in the “Dwight” place at the “Dwight” time to pull this off.

    

1. Orlando Magic

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    Of all the teams listed, the Magic need Dwight Howard the most.

    He has transformed the team into a middling franchise to a perennial contender. There hasn’t been a more popular player in Orlando since a young Shaquille O’Neal.

    Howard led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009, where Orlando fell to the Lakers in five games.

    If Howard is traded or signs elsewhere, the Magic lose all credibility as a contender, especially if Howard remains in the Eastern Conference.

    The Magic will work hard to convince Howard that his future is in Orlando. However, the team will need to use all its “magic” for Howard to stay.