Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: Chicago Bulls Enter the Sweepstakes

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  (L-R) Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic and the Eastern Conference, singer Justin Bieber, and Chicago Bulls mascot 'Benny the Bull' courtside during the 2011 NBA All-Star game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

According to both the Chicago Tribune and ESPN, the Chicago Bulls are planning to enter the bidding for Dwight Howard. Presumably they will take Derrick Rose off the table and let the Magic have their choice from the rest of the team.

The Bulls believe that they can put together the best deal of any team in exchange for the Magic's superstar center. They would be able to offer the Magic their choice of "pick two" from the trio of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. 

After that, the smorgasbord could include the likes of either Kyle Korver or Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson or Omer Asik and one of the Bulls' draft picks, Charlotte's pick or the rights to Nikola Mirotic. 

In other words, they have three things to offer: Players that can play at, or very close to, an All-Star level, backups that could potentially start and players to build around in the future. 

The new Orlando team would feature possibly Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson or Glen Davis and Joakim Noah. That might not be an NBA championship team, but it is a quality playoff team, and with the ability to add players to a young team, Orlando would have a very solid core to build around. 

It's hard to envision a trade from any of the other teams in the bidding that would leave the Magic so complete. 

The Lakers might be able to offer a better singular player in Andrew Bynum, but it's hard to envision a scenario where the Lakers are able to put together a long-term team plan that would help the Magic more. 

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 01: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls shoots against Rashard Lewis #9 and Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic at the United Center on December 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Magic defeated the Bulls 107-78. NOTE TO USER: Us
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There remain two questions though. First, can the Bulls get Dwight Howard on board? Second, would the Bulls actually be better?

Howard has given three teams he would like to be dealt to: the Lakers, Mavericks and Nets. While there's been some speculation that he doesn't want to go to a "cold-weather" city, he also gave New Jersey as his top choice, and it's not like Brooklyn is a dramatically different climate than Chicago. 

It would seem possible that he could be convinced to come to Chicago and that his preferences were based on the teams that were alleged to be in the hunt. 

It does seem that he wants to play with one of the league's elite point guards, whether that meant playing in LA with Chris Paul (which now is not going to happen) or in New Jersey or potentially Dallas with Deron Williams. 

Howard and Rose are "Adidas buddies" and certainly the reigning MVP deserves mention in the company of the league's elite point guards. It's not inconceivable that Howard would open up to the notion of a trade to the Bulls. 

The remaining question is whether the Bulls would actually be improved with the trade. Arguments can be made both ways.

The Bulls would retain either Carlos Boozer or Luol Deng in the trade, most likely Carlos Boozer. The combination of Boozer and Howard inside would give the Bulls the best inside scoring punch in the NBA without question. 

Their starting five would consist of Rose at the point, Hamilton at the 2, Hedo Turkoglu at the 3 and Boozer and Howard in the paint. 

Aspects of this lineup are incredibly intriguing. With Boozer and Howard both having such tremendous ability to score in the paint, and Rose's ability to penetrate, the Bulls would be lethal in the middle. With Hamilton and Turkoglu both being outstanding spot-up shooters, the Bulls would be able to stretch the court. 

Offensively, the Bulls' starting five would be championship-caliber. 

Where there would be major concern is defense on the perimeter. Rose is excellent, but Hamilton is decent and Turkoglu is bad. While the Bulls would be susceptible to penetration, having Howard to patrol the paint would be a big help. 

There would also be the fact that they would be playing under the defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau. If anyone could get that starting five to play defense, it's Tom Thibodeau. 

While it would be realistic to think that the Bulls would be a championship-caliber team with the trade, it's also fair to mention they already are. The question is whether the team would be better than it already is, and it's difficult to say either way. 

Needless to say, Chicago Bulls fans are going to be paying attention to this story either way.