I am willing to bet money that Dwight Howard will not be a member of the Orlando Magic this time next year. Many people who are in tune with the NBA believe that as well. All signs point to it, as the Magic are in no position to win a championship and Howard is a free agent next summer.
With that said, our imaginations are free to go wild with scenarios of where he could play and who he could play with.
Here are a few front-court players who would pair nicely with the league's top center.
For 82 games—plus the Rookie Challenge, Slam Dunk Contest and All-Star Game—Blake Griffin starred in an exhibit of malicious athleticism.
From tomahawks, alley oops and 360s, capped off by dunks and flashy layups, Griffin is a handful of top 10 plays waiting to happen.
Dwight Howard has been known to throw down some rim rattlers here and there as well.
Pairing the two aerial bigs together would produce immense replay value for their team. Kicking back and seeing those two do unpleasant things to the basket is something I would not mind seeing.
For a few consecutive seasons, Dwight Howard was hands down the most elite rebounder in the game. Kevin Love's 2011 season changed all of that, as he may very well have stolen that honor. Averaging 15.2 rebounds and snagging 31 in a contest is enough to hand him the crown. Toss in the facts that he is about one inch shorter, five pounds lighter and about two classes less athletic than the former rebound king, and it's even easier.
This doesn't make Howard a slouch on the boards, though—he's No. 2 at worst.
And if these two would team up, they would wreak utter havoc on the glass. I would love to see the rebounding numbers on a nightly basis. It's hard to picture opponents getting many second-chance points, or even points off of defensive rebounds.
I think this duo would be that kind of powerful on the backboards.
For the most part, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard can do what the other can't. Dirk is known for his artful scoring skills and pure shooting stroke, while Howard is know for his athleticism and brute strength displayed primarily in the paint.
Bringing the two together would form a frontline of fire and ice. Their opposites would compliment each other's game beautifully.
Picture how well Tyson Chandler and Dirk performed alongside each other. Now picture Howard, a rich man's Chandler, with Dirk instead.
Both require a double teams at some point or another, so running the pick and roll would be nearly unstoppable. Howard continually cleaning up on Dirk's misses is a dream aspect of this scenario as well.
This may actually be my favorite hypothetical pair.
This tandem is essentially a poor man's version of the Nowitzki/Howard pairing.
The way Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh would play as teammates is how I envision Howard and Nowitzki playing together. Bosh is a finesse power forward just like Nowitzki is, except he lacks the shooting range and strength that his theoretical counterpart has.
Throughout his career, Bosh has played next to the likes of Rasho Nesterovic, Andrea Bargnani and Joel Anthony at center—not nearly the guys you want going to war with you in the paint. Other centers he has been next to include Jermaine O'Neal, Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilguaskas and Jamaal Magloire. All of these guys were in later stages of their careers when they were with Bosh. But even in their heyday, they did not equal the presence of Dwight Howard down low.
Putting them together would finally give Bosh that guy—he has always needed someone else in the paint to take pressure of of him.
Howard is the perfect candidate. He can focus on the dirty work, while Bosh continues his mid-range game without the same kind of defensive attention on him.
A Bosh forced to do heavy, physical work is a less effective one. Howard would allow him to stay in his comfort lane.
I wanted to keep just natural power forwards on this list, but I also wanted to include a defensive scenario. No top notch defender at power forward came to mind, so Andrew Bogut it is.
Dwight Howard has served as a terrific post defender in his career. He has, however, not really gotten a lot of help in the paint in that regard.
Bogut is a guy who would help shut down the paint on defense with Howard. Each of them protect the rim well, averaged nearly five blocks a game combined, and cover a single player in the low post effectively.
Any coach would love to play around with defensive strategies with these two rotating around the basket.