NBA Rumors: 10 Teams That Will Go All-in on Potential Dwight Howard Trade
The most compelling question is, of course, All-NBA center Dwight Howard's future within the organization. While many speculate that Howard will ultimately stay in the city that drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2004 Draft, Magic CEO Alex Martins did confirm that Orlando will search for a new option at center if the perennial All-Star doesn't sign a long-term contract.
"If he decides not to sign an extension, then we're going to make decisions necessary so we don't go through a season like we went through this year," Martins said.
After a season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk, numerous scuffles with management and a less than stellar relationship with coach Stan Van Gundy, Howard's tenure in Orlando may be coming to a close in just a few weeks. After all, it has become painfully obvious for the city of Orlando that Howard simply doesn't want to be in a Magic uniform if no immediate trade occurs to snag a second star.
But with few valuable trade assets and an already large financial commitment for next season, it is quite unlikely that Orlando can acquire another superstar to appease their current one.
Nonetheless, Orlando will have to make a difficult decision in the coming days that will alter the franchise's course entirely. If the Magic decide to ship the top-tier center, who will go all-in to snag him?
Well, the subsequent slides will list and examine the 10 teams who may blow up their rosters to obtain "Superman."
Earlier this season, the Atlanta Hawks engaged the Magic in trade talks surrounding Dwight Howard. While nothing was serious, both sides were reported to make a little headway. However, the talks broke apart due to Howard's lack of commitment to sign long-term with the franchise.
While he has shown interest in playing for the Hawks, as he spent his childhood in the city of Atlanta, Howard has not officially put the Hawks on his destination wish list.
But with each passing day, "Superman" may start to become anxious to leave Orlando due to all of the proverbial feathers he has ruffled. Atlanta provides a suitable home for the top-tier big man.
Not only would he be able to play with the physically-gifted Josh Smith, who is also a longtime friend, but he would be able to stay in the Southeast division that he has become so accustomed to in the last few years.
To add Howard without losing Smith, the Hawks would have to ship both Al Horford, who has developed into a consistent post threat, and Joe Johnson, a high-octane scorer capable of keeping Orlando competitive.
In the end, though, Orlando would never give up its star to a division rival.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 3 Percent
New York Knicks
Changes may be coming the New York Knicks' way, as the team was unable to mesh together throughout the season. The franchise tried to address this problem earlier in the season when it dangled big men Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in front of Orlando's face to acquire Dwight Howard.
Despite the trade failing, this transaction is an enticing one for the Orlando Magic. Even though Stoudemire struggled at times this season, as he did not make the Eastern Conference All-Star team, the undersized power forward is still capable of providing gaudy numbers on a consistent basis. While his defense leaves much to be desired, his offense may be too enticing for Orlando.
Then, when you add the new Defensive Player of the Year in Chandler, the New York Knicks' chances of adding Howard skyrocket.
But there still are questions regarding this potential scenario.
Both Chandler and Stoudemire are on the downside of their respective careers, and while Orlando is searching for established veterans in return for Howard's services, their injury histories may keep the Magic away.
A Carmelo Anthony-Dwight Howard tandem in the "Big Apple" would be quite interesting, though.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 7 Percent
Golden State Warriors
Though Howard has even stated that he is not interested in suiting up draped in blue and gold, the Golden State Warriors have actively pursued the established center with hopes of generating buzz in San Francisco.
However, trading away Monta Ellis for essentially the injury-prone Andrew Bogut and elder Richard Jefferson didn't help Golden State's chances of obtaining Howard. Despite this lopsided trade, it still has numerous attractive young prospects on its roster that Orlando may be interested in swapping for.
An offer comprised of injury-prone, talented marksman Stephen Curry, the potential-filled Klay Thompson and double-double threat David Lee may be enough to pry Howard away from Orlando.
There is one important question, though. Does Golden State want to blow up its young nucleus for a player who will surely leave in after his contract expires?
Chance a Trade Occurs: 1 Percent
Dwight Howard has expressed interest in playing for the historic Boston Celtics franchise. While no official rumors have leaked regarding talks surrounding Howard, there is a chance that another failed attempt at taking home the Larry O'Brien Trophy may result with a dismantling of their current veteran-filled group.
With Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the twilight years of their respective Hall of Fame careers, don't be surprised to see a revamped Celtics team next October. Who knows, this squad may be headlined by Dwight Howard.
If Boston does want to add the polarizing behemoth, it would in all likelihood need to trade away its triple-double threat facilitator Rajon Rondo, defensive-minded Avery Bradley and a few spare parts to make the deal financially compatible.
The chances this happens are slim to none, though, as the Celtics simply don't have enough pieces to intrigue Orlando.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 4 Percent
San Antonio Spurs
It would be quite interesting to see elder statesman Tim Duncan pass the torch to young center Dwight Howard much like former Spur David Robinson did with Timmy in the early 2000s.
Sure, there are no rumors about a possible pairing between the two dominant post players, but the San Antonio Spurs have always kept their cards close to their chest.
In addition, much like the Celtics, another missed opportunity to win a title may result in a fire sale. A combination of Tony Parker, who has had a career year, Manu Ginobili, a crafty veteran, and draft picks may be enough for Orlando to send D12 to Texas.
In the end, this is a pipeline dream—but an intriguing one at that.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 2 Percent
Derrick Rose's torn ACL is a tough break for a Chicago Bulls franchise that was beginning to thrive in a weak Eastern Conference. Due to this severe injury, Bulls management will most likely start searching for a second star to alleviate some of the pressure off the recently-injured Rose.
Because they possess so many quality core players, it might not be too difficult for the Bulls to add the young point guard's "Scottie Pippen." A package including first-time All-Star Luol Deng, former Florida star Joakim Noah and a few players from their deep bench has the potential to add an upper-echelon star.
That star could be Dwight Howard.
However, there are numerous reports saying Howard is unwilling to play for Chicago because of his ties to Adidas, a company that also represents Rose. It would be unwise financially for the big man to play in the same market as the top-tier guard.
But that is the price of playing on what would be considered a championship-favorite team. A trio of Howard, Rose and power forward Carlos Boozer would automatically cause nightmare mismatches for opposing squads.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 5 Percent
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers were once considered a favorite to win the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. However, one measly phone call has nearly diminished their chances of a Howard-Los Angeles union.
Whether you believe in this mysterious exchange, where Kobe supposedly told Howard he would be their Tyson Chandler, is a story of its own, as Bryant has denied this rumor.
Nonetheless, Howard seems to have mixed emotions in trying to help the elder Bryant earn one more ring to tie Michael Jordan.
Additionally, Bynum's All-Star starter caliber of play has sparked buzz in Los Angeles. Orlando may not even be able to convince the Lakers brass to complete a Howard-Bynum swap.
But you still have to keep the Lakers option open. After all, the franchise is on Howard's preferred destinations list.
I would not hold my breath, though.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 7 Percent
With this end to an era, Mark Cuban will undoubtedly be on the hunt this offseason for the next players to pair up with reigning 2011 NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. Due to all the contracts coming off the books this season, the organization will have the ability to not just add one max-player, but two.
The first names that come to mind are, obviously, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams.
Nets point guard Williams has been rumored to be on the fence about leaving the bright lights of Brooklyn to join the German assassin in Dallas. If the All-Star point guard decides to abandon ship, however, expect Howard to follow suit.
But the Mavericks would have to wait until next offseason to obtain Howard, as the center waived his early-termination option earlier in the year.
A trio of Howard, Williams and Nowitzki would arguably be the best Big Three in the Association.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 0 Percent
Chance a Signing Occurs Next Offseason: 20 Percent
If Deron Williams stays with his current organization with hopes of bringing the Nets back to relevancy, don't be surprised to see Howard-Brooklyn rumors surface.
Not only does Howard regard the Nets as his No. 1 option, but Brooklyn possesses numerous attractive pieces to exchange with Orlando.
These assets include the refined young center Brook Lopez, rookie MarShon Brooks and numerous first-round picks in the coming years.
Despite Orlando wanting established veterans for the services of Howard, this package perfectly sets the Magic up for a massive rebuilding phase, something they desperately need.
Chance a Trade Occurs: 30 Percent
Known contrarians, there is always the possibility with the Magic that no trade occurs and Dwight Howard signs a long-term deal or stays one more season and leaves in free agency.
Going into the offseason after a brutal playoff series against the Pacers, the Magic's No. 1 goal is to acquire another star to pair with Howard.
But how many players that would appease Howard are available?
Monta Ellis was just shipped to Milwaukee. Stephen Jackson is now with the San Antonio Spurs. Josh Smith and Deron Williams' price tags are far too high. And Andre Iguodala will most likely stay with the 76ers after upsetting the first-seeded Bulls.
It would be a pleasant surprise to finally see a superstar stay with Orlando for the entirety of his career. After all, this is a franchise that has lost Shaquille O'Neal (to the Lakers), Penny Hardaway (to injury), Grant Hill (to injury) and Tracy McGrady (to a poor attitude).
Howard's departure would be a crippling blow to a franchise that has become accustomed to losing its stars.
Let's see if "Superman" is the exception.
Chance Howard Stays: 21 Percent