Dwight Howard has been bandied about in trade rumors since the offseason began. The most popular rumor has him going to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Another has the Bulls acquiring Howard, perhaps for Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Omer Asik, as The Daily Herald suggests. Recently, the Memphis Grizzlies surfaced in this speculation.
The suggested trade has Marc Gasol going to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Howard. Without entering debate about whether this is enough for the Grizzlies to acquire Howard, the thought of the Grizzlies acquiring Howard seems too good to be true.
Believing that the Grizzlies would trade for Howard is believing too highly in Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. Also, the idea assumes that the Grizzlies can both entice the Magic with their young talent and come out closer to an NBA title after acquiring Howard.
The Grizzlies would mortgage their future by trading for Howard.
First, the Grizzlies would have to give a great deal of talent to get Howard. Here are a couple of trade scenarios that may please Magic general manager Otis Smith.
One would have the Grizzlies giving Gasol, Greivis Vasquez and a first round draft pick for Howard.
This is a trade scenario predicated on the idea that giving Gasol and a little more would suffice in a deal for Howard. Now, it could work. However, Vasquez is probably the best defensive guard for the Grizzlies for next season. Do the Grizzlies want to give him up along with a draft pick?
In case that isn't enough, the Grizzlies could give Gasol, Rudy Gay and Darrell Arthur for Howard. That's two solid rebounders and a good scorer for Howard. This trade scenario would lose a net 21 points per game for the Grizzlies.
Trading is all about taking chances, but the Grizzlies won't take the chance if it means giving away too much talent.
Remember what a cheapskate Heisley is.
Heisley won't allow Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace to trade for Howard. First, the trade would mean paying big money for Howard, with the prospect of having to pay him more when his contract expires if he wants to keep the Grizzlies in contention.
Heisley is too cheap to go after Howard. For his tight purse, Sports Illustrated ranked him third among the worst NBA owners in 2009. When criticized for trading Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers, he remarked, "What am I supposed to spend, $100 million?" Also, Heisley took Xavier Henry and Vasquez into bitter contract talks after drafting them last year.
If the Grizzlies did acquire Howard, one could expect that Heisley would be unwilling to put up the money to re-sign him.
Conclusion: the Grizzlies won't chase Howard.
The Grizzlies would more likely sit with their young talent than go after Howard. Having Howard and Zach Randolph in the Grizzlies frontcourt is a nice thought, however, it's too starry a fantasy. Trading for him is all about the potential of the players the Grizzlies would give for Howard to add up to the great contribution Howard has given the Magic. It could sell.
Nevertheless, Heisley won't let the Grizzlies enter the Howard sweepstakes.