The Toronto Raptors have been looking for a small forward, and HOOPSWORLD has learned that they may have finally found their man. A deal being discussed would send troubled forward Josh Howard to the Raptors in a deal that would land Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker in Dallas, with a combination that could involve DeSagana Diop and Antoine Wright headed back to Toronto.
Howard has been brilliant at times for the Mavericks, even earning All-Star recognition two seasons ago, but it's not Howard's play on the court that has the team aggressively shopping him around the NBA. Howard's admission of drug use during the playoffs was his first step out the door, with subsequent lapses in judgment helping the cause. More than anything, perhaps, is his inability to find his game within the Jason Kidd-run offense.
During his All-Star campaign, Howard averaged just under 20 points and seven rebounds per game. He was a lethal sidekick to MVP Dirk Nowitzki, and flourished in the Avery Johnson system which featured Devin Harris as the starting point guard. It's hard to beleive that a player of Josh's skill would have a hard time co-existing with Jason Kidd, but since the trade that sent Kidd to Dallas Josh has been as lost on the court as he has been off of it. New head coach Rick Carlisle has asked him to be more of an attacker than a shooter, and Howard just can't seem to find a way to consistently adjust his game. On top of that, his rebounding is down and he's having his worst shooting year (43%) since his rookie campaign.
It seems Howard needs to be in a different system to return to his All-Star form, and the Raptors are seriously entertaining the possibility that their system is the right one for him.
Gana Diop would shore up the Raptors' front line, while also providing injury insurance for the oft-injured Jermaine O'Neal. Diop was a frequent starter for the Mavericks under the Avery regime, but he has failed to impress Carlisle the way he did his predecessor. The solid play of Erick Dampier has made it more and more difficult for Diop to get on the court, thus the trade to a team that could offer him a bigger role.
Like Howard, Andrea Bargnani seems to need a different system in order to realize his full NBA potential. The Mavericks are clearly interested in seeing if Jason Kidd can help bring that out in the former number one overall pick in the NBA draft. Bargnani has seen his playing time increase over the last four games, and as a result his numbers have dramatically improved. Over that stretch he's averaging 21 points, 6.25 rebounds, and connecting on just over 50% of his field goals (12-21 from three). On the season Bargnani has been much more effective as a starter, and the Mavs could hand him a full-time role in this scenario.
Anthony Parker is more than a throw-in, giving Dallas the starting two-guard they so desperately need. In fact, Parker might be the more important piece in this transaction. A prolific scorer in his own right, Parker can create his own shot, score in a variety of ways, and also defend the bigger twos of the Western Conference.
Other pieces are being discussed in this deal, but these are the principles. Stay tuned to HOOPSWORLD for more on this emerging story.
Since Howard don't like America then I guess Mark Cuban is gonna trade him to Canada.
Edited by LALakersFan4Life, January 07, 2009 - 01:56 AM.