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NBA Trade Rumors 2011: 10 Possible Landing Spots for Dwight Howard

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IJune 13, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors 2011: 10 Possible Landing Spots for Dwight Howard

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 22:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Well, the NBA Finals are over. Now, a lockout looms large.

    But, if the NBA and the Players Association manage to settle their differences and we have a season, much of the attention will go to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

    Where will the big center end up? Will he stay in Orlando or will he be traded? Will he test the free-agency waters?

    Much remains to be seen, but here's an early look at 10 teams with a chance to grab the superstar center.

10. Miami Heat

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Howard to the Heat is a scary thought, isn’t it?

    It’s incredibly unlikely, but if the Heat could put together a package centering around Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers, they could possibly trade for Howard.

    I don’t think we need to worry about this actually happening though. There just simply isn’t enough money to go around between Howard, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic sits on the bench during a timeout before the final seconds against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on Apri
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Another intriguing possibility is Howard going to the Cavs and doing what LeBron could never do: bring a championship to Cleveland.

    If the Cavs can draft Kyrie Erving and Derrick Williams, then either trade for or sign Howard in free agency, they could be the class of the Eastern Conference by 2013.

    But, I don’t see the Cavs offering an enticing enough deal to the Magic and I don’t see Howard signing with Cleveland in free agency.

8. Chicago Bulls

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic shoots over Jason Collins #34 of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  N
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Bulls probably won’t want to mess with their core players too much, since they are probably only a shooting guard away from making the NBA Finals.

    But, if they wanted to put Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Keith Bogans’ expiring contract and a couple draft picks in a Howard deal, it might be tempting for the Magic.

7. New York Knicks

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 16:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic lays the ball up against the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Knicks will have Chauncey BIllups’ expiring contract and a little bit of cap room.

    They’d probably have to wait and see if Howard hits free agency though for them to have a real shot.

    They’ll probably put most of their effort into seeing if they can grab Chris Paul or Deron Williams.

6. Dallas Mavericks

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 19:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic drives as Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks defends during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Flor
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Tyson Chandler may or may not be back for the Mavs in 2011-12.

    If he’s gone, the Mavs will have Brendan Haywood manning the middle of the defense. That just won’t do if they want to repeat as champions.

    Getting Howard in a midseason trade would be difficult, but they’d have the expiring contracts of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, and might have some cap room if they don’t re-sign Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson this offseason.

    It’s not too terribly far-fetched to imagine Mark Cuban’s team making this move.

5. Houston Rockets

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 19:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic wins the opening tipoff over Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando,
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Rockets have Yao Ming’s monster contract coming off the books this offseason, so they should have some cap room to play with.

    They are an intriguing option if they can put together a package of players and picks that the Magic would deem worthy of Howard.

    They’d be boosted higher on this list if Howard pulls a Carmelo Anthony and demands a trade.

4. Boston Celtics

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Celtics would become the Eastern Conference powerhouses again if they could acquire Dwight Howard.

    If they want to make a run at the title in 2011-12, they’d probably have to give up either Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett. But getting Howard might be worth that risk.

    Or, if they waited until free agency, Garnett and Allen’s contracts would be coming off the books, leaving the Celtics with plenty of cap room to chase Howard.

    Pairing him with Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce would be fun to watch.

3. Orlando Magic

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic slam dunks the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by dow
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Maybe, just maybe, Howard will decide to keep his loyalty to Orlando and re-sign with the Magic.

    He could set the tone for superstars in the future and put an end to the trend that LeBron James started by teaming up with Dwyane Wade.

    But, for that to happen, the Orlando front office is going to have to show a strong commitment to building a championship-caliber team around him. Right now, they simply aren’t good enough for Howard to want to come back.

2. New Jersey Nets

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    ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 08:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Amway Arena on February 8, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downlo
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    The Nets probably don’t have enough valuable trade chips to pick up Howard in a midseason trade.

    But, if he hits free agency, you better believe the Nets will go after him.

    Signing Howard might be the only shot New Jersey has of keeping Deron Williams.

    Brook Lopez and Howard would certainly make a formidable frontcourt duo.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

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    PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agre
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Lakers were supposedly in talks with the Magic this season about acquiring Howard.

    If that’s true, they’ll probably be even bigger players in the rumors this season as the trade deadline nears.

    Offering Andrew Bynum in return might be good enough for the Magic if they feel they don’t have a shot of getting Howard to come back to Orlando. Plus, sending him to the Western Conference would make it so they don’t have to face him too often during the regular season.

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