If Howard really does plan on leaving Orlando when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012, then the Magic need to seriously consider trading him and getting some value in return for their franchise center.
We've seen teams in the recent past hold off trading their franchise players when they threatened to leave, and pay for it. Toronto is in full on rebuilding mode since Chris Bosh left them and it looks like will be drafting in the top 10 for the next few years.
On the flip side we saw the Denver Nuggets take the initiative and shipped Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks for almost an entire starting lineup and actually improving their team in the short term and creating an opportunity to build a title contender in the long term, without having to suffer through year after year of 25-win seasons.
These scenarios are made up of teams that Howard would sign an extension with, and teams that would have enough pieces to build a trade that Orlando would consider accepting. If a team does not fit both of those criteria then they are not in the race.
Okay, this may be a bit far-fetched but how awesome would a Dwight Howard-Blake Griffin combo be? They would be the best power forward-center combo for the next five years, at least, would dominate the paint against anyone, and for what it's worth, easily double any other teams dunk totals.
It's obvious that the Clippers would make this trade but would the Eric Gordon-centerpieced package be enough for the Magic? Probably not, Gordon is a nice player and the Clippers would have to throw in a few first-round draft picks to have any shot at landing the big man, but at the end of the day this trade probably wouldn't go through.
The Clippers do own the Timberwolves' 2012 first-round pick and could pair that with Gordon, Kaman and Aminu into a package that Orlando would have to look into.
Howard is rumored to want to play in L.A and if not the Lakers, why not the Clippers? Howard would be happy to play alongside someone like Blake Griffin and would happily sign an extension to stay in Los Angeles, but the Clippers simply would not have enough to give up, even with that intriguing Timberwolves lottery-bound first-round pick.
The first question that comes up about a trade of this magnitude is why would Chicago, a team that just won 62 games and has the youngest MVP in NBA history, want to blow up their roster? Well, they probably wouldn't, but anytime the best center in the league is available, you at least have to look.
Next, is the Chicago package enough to pry Howard from Orlando? Maybe. Noah and Gibson could be a legitimate frontcourt in the future, Deng is a high quality small forward. Another couple of first round picks would be thrown in to the deal and perhaps swapping out Deng for Carlos Boozer, and the Magic would have a nice package of players.
Howard playing with Rose would give Rose the second option that he so clearly needs and allow for Howard to get less double teams in the low post and catch a record amount of alley oop lobs.
This trade is kind of a stretch but if Orlando knows Howard is leaving, it is sure better than nothing.
The recent drama over Russell Westbrook's un-point-guard-like play, and other rumors about the Thunder looking into trading the young point guard for Chris Paul or Deron Williams makes this trade idea legit.
If the Thunder are looking into trading Westbrook for another top point guard, then why not look into trading him for the top center in the NBA? The package deal of Westbrook, Perkins, Nate Robinson and Cole Aldridge would be enough for the Magic and pairing Kevin Durant, the top scorer in the NBA, and Dwight Howard, the top defender in the NBA would equal titles for the young Oklahoma City Thunder.
The main question here is would Howard be willing to sign an extension with the Thunder and play in such a small market and the answer, to me, is yes. The Thunder would be a force to be reckoned with and would be in title contention so why would Howard want to leave?
A Howard, Durant, Harden "Big Three" would rival the Heat's LeBron, Wade, Bosh trio and would be the favorite to come out of the West for years to come.
This is a no-brainer for both sides and would give Orlando a guy, Westbrook, to build around and compete just as they did with Howard.
This has to be the most interesting trade scenario on the list and seems to be too crazy to happen.
And it is.
The way the Heat are playing right now and how the "Big Three" are dominating in their first year together, there is no way this could happen...right?
Well, yes, but in this trade the Magic would be giving up a top-five player, and getting a top-five player in return. That is equal value, and while the Magic would not want to trade Howard to a team in their same conference let alone their same state, they may have to if the trade makes sense.
The Heat would be adding the best center in the league to play with LeBron and Bosh, creating one of the best frontcourts in NBA history.
I know that Dwyane Wade is a fan favorite in Miami, brought them their first NBA title, is great friends with both Bosh and James, is helping to dominate the NBA with those two and looks to be on his way to a second NBA title, but still...
Any time you have a chance to trade for the NBA's best center, you at least look into it.
This trade will never happen, but as an NBA junkie wild trades that shake up the entire league have always interested me so I thought I'd at least look into it. Please don't kill me, Heat fans.
The most realistic spot for Howard to land in a trade is with the Lakers.
The Lakers' package for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, who would have to be included for salary reasons, is close to the best and has the most potential to build around.
Andrew Bynum has always been a great trade chip and seems to always be rumored in trades for more established players the Lakers were supposedly interested in like Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
Bynum is the piece of this trade that the Magic would build around and try and become a title contender the same way they did with Howard.
Not only does Howard want to play in L.A, he seems to really want to play for the Lakers and there is no doubt he would sign a contract extension with them.
If the Lakers made this trade they would lose their center of the future but get another, better one, right back. This move would throw the Lakers right back into the ring as a favorite to not only come out of the West, but to win the NBA title.