NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Teams With the Best Chance to Acquire Dwight Howard

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJune 25, 2011

NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Teams With the Best Chance to Acquire Dwight Howard

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    Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard will be the most coveted free agent since, well, LeBron James last summer. 

    However, Howard is a much more important player than LeBron James. In an era of NBA basketball where dominant centers are almost non-existent, Howard is a unique talent in today's league.

    His ability to score over 20 points every night in addition to his tremendous rebounding makes Howard one of the best players in the league.

    But it's his unbelievable defense that makes him a special player. Howard has won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award three years in a row.

    No player has ever won that award three straight times, but to be fair, the award didn't exist when Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain played.

    Howard is unlikely to stay in Orlando for the rest of his career, and the Magic would be wise to trade him before he can explore free agency in the summer of 2012.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers example with LeBron James has taught teams it's better to trade your superstar for young talent rather than risk losing him for nothing via free agency.

    The Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony this past season to the New York Knicks before he could get to free agency, and they got a nice package of talent in return for the star.

    There are several teams that have lots of young talent to offer the Magic in a trade proposal for Howard, so let's look and see if your team has the pieces to acquire the best center in the NBA. 

    Nicholas Goss is an NBA and Oklahoma City Thunder featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, follow him on Twitter for NBA and Thunder news and analysis.

5) Philadelphia 76ers

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    The Philadelphia 76ers have been involved in many trade rumors this offseason involving their star forward Andre Iguodala.

    Iguodala has been rumored to be involved in possible trades to Minnesota, the Lakers and Golden State to name a few.

    The Magic have many intriguing players to ask for from the 76ers in a trade for Dwight Howard. 

    Forwards Thaddeous Young and Lou Wiliams are young players who have the potential to be better at both ends of the floor.

    Iguodala is a proven scorer and is an above-average rebounder. 

    Philly's first-round pick in last week's 2011 NBA draft, Nikola Vucevic from USC, is a very good power forward/center prospect who has the potential to be a very good offensive player.

    Young point guard Jrue Holliday is one of the better up and coming players in the NBA and could be an All-Star in the next few seasons.

    He can score but is also a very good passer and runs an offense quite well.

    The 76ers are not afraid to make bold trades or signings, and they have the pieces to get Howard if Orlando cannot get other teams to offer better talent.

4) Utah Jazz

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    The Utah Jazz have so many young and talented players because of their blockbuster trade this past season with the New Jersey Nets, which sent Jazz superstar point guard Deron Williams to the Nets.

    Among a number of players in the Williams trade, the Jazz received the Nets' first-round pick, third overall, in last week's 2011 NBA draft. They used the pick to draft Turkish center Enes Kanter.

    With the Jazz loaded with depth at nearly every position, they are in a great spot to trade for an established star.

    In the frontcourt, Utah has Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. All are young, talented and have yet to reach their potential.

    They also have young point guard Devin Harris to offer Orlando for Dwight Howard.

    If the Magic are looking to acquire depth at the power forward and center spot for Howard, the Jazz are the best trade partner for them.

    Kanter is a very good player who runs the floor well for a big man, and Al Jefferson is a 20 points and 10 rebounds player every night in the right situation.

    Howard might not want to play in Utah since they are a few years away from contending for the Western Conference title, but for the Magic, the Jazz have a great collection of big men to offer.

3) Chicago Bulls

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    "Derrick Rose to Dwight Howard for the alley-oop!" Sounds exciting for Bulls fans, doesn't it?

    Howard to Chicago is not an outlandish proposition, not by any means.

    The Bulls have lots of young talent to offer the Magic, and their defensive-minded approach fits Howard's game perfectly. 

    Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is the best defensive coach in basketball, and it's scary to think how good on defense the Bulls would be with Howard manning the paint.

    Derrick Rose will not be traded in any deal for any player by Chicago, but the Bulls still have lots of talent to give up without including the 2011 NBA MVP in a trade proposal.

    The Bulls have young center Omer Asik to offer the Magic. Asik is a good player at both ends of the floor and has the size and strength necessary to be a very good NBA center.

    Carlos Boozer and his large contract would likely be part of a Bulls deal for Howard. Despite his large salary, Boozer is a very good power forward, if healthy.

    The Bulls have another top young center in Joakim Noah but have been unwilling to trade him over the last few seasons.

    But if Orlando demanded Noah be part of a deal for Howard, how could the Bulls refuse?

    Chicago also has guard Ronnie Brewer and forward Kyle Korver to round out any trade with Orlando.

2) Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies surpassed expectations this season by reaching Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, but ultimately lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    Memphis has lots of young talent to acquire any major star, including Dwight Howard.

    Point guard Mike Conley, shooting guard OJ Mayo, forwards Rudy Gay, Sam Young and Darrell Arthur and center Marc Gasol are all young players with a bright futures ahead of them.

    The Grizzlies have made a qualifying offer to Gasol, who is a restricted free agent this summer. It is likely that Memphis will match any offer given to Gasol to keep him.

    Once Gasol is signed, they could make a trade with the Magic. Memphis has one of the few bright young centers in the NBA in Gasol, and his balanced offensive game and rebounding would not be a massive drop-off from Howard in Orlando.

    Defensively, Gasol is not close to Howard, but he's not a bad defender. Gasol has size and is not afraid to bang in the paint.

    Sam Young has played very well at small forward for Memphis and is an all-around forward Orlando would like.

    Rudy Gay is also a potential target for Orlando. He is a proven scorer and a star in the NBA. The five-year, $82 million contract he signed last summer would help balance the salaries in a trade for Howard.

    If Gasol re-signs and Memphis is willing to talk about acquiring Howard, the Magic could get a nice return for their star center from them.

1) Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard on the same team is a scary thought for any basketball team outside of Oklahoma City.

    The Thunder have the best young players to offer the Orlando Magic in a trade for Dwight Howard.

    As I wrote in an article earlier this week, the Thunder have established young players to offer the Magic to keep them competitive right now.

    Superstar point guard Russell Westbrook would allow the Magic to remain a top team based on his scoring and passing skills, but Westbrook is also among the best rebounding point guards in the NBA.

    Either him or backup point guard Eric Maynor, who is ready to be a starting point guard, is a good option for Orlando.

    Power forward Serge Ibaka is a defensive monster for OKC, and his shot blocking and rebounding abilities are not as good as Howard's, but they're pretty close.

    Young shooting guard James Harden is another great talent to offer Orlando. Harden is a very good scorer, with a good outside shot. He also is a very underrated passer and now takes the ball to the basket off the dribble effectively, something he did little of last season.

    Center Kendrick Perkins is a defensive beast in the paint, and Howard has applauded Perkins' defense against him many times during their playoff battles between the Magic and Celtics.

    Forward Nick Collison is another role player that the Magic would love to have, his tenacity, hustle and rebounding is something every championship team has to have off the bench.

    The Thunder have the best package of youth, scoring, defense and superstar potential to offer the Orlando Magic in a trade for Dwight Howard.

    OKC may be unwilling to part with all their young stars too early in their development, but if Orlando comes calling, the Thunder have to listen.

    The Thunder are the only NBA team who could give up a lot for Howard and remain a deep enough team to be an NBA Finals contender for many years to come.