Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando; that’s pretty obvious.
He’s probably not conscious of it but quotes from Howard over the last year or so can allow us to safely assume what teams he would allow a trade to.
Howard was asked whether he sees himself playing in a much larger market back in October.
“There’s more you can do in a bigger place,” Howard answered, according to Esquire.
So let’s assume he wants to go to a big market and to a franchise that is in a position to win an NBA championship.
Those two “demands” take a lot of the 30 NBA teams out of the running for Howard’s services.
The top three markets are, of course, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. So let’s put the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers, Nets, and Bulls in contention.
Chicago is interesting as they could potentially package Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and first round draft picks for Howard. In regards to the Clippers, it’s simple. If Howard is coming to LA, it is not to play for the Lakers’ little brother.
You could throw Miami and Boston in. However, those two teams have no trade pieces unless Miami wants to break up James, Wade and Bosh after one season.
Orlando won’t want any of the aging three up in Boston. Rondo could be packaged, but it’s hard for me to believe Howard would want to go to the Celtics when their championship window is closing rapidly.
Dallas, although they won the championship, doesn’t have many pieces to trade either. The Mavs won’t give up Dirk who was surrounded by a bunch of above average veterans last year in Kidd, Terry, Chandler, etc.
The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets are a viable candidate. Rumors had Brook Lopez and two first round picks being offered for the services of Howard.
However, that rumor was quickly shot down by Nets general manager Billy King, who said he hasn’t talked to the Magic about a trade since February.
Even if the trade went through, can Howard and Deron Williams win a championship together? Does that give Howard the best opportunity to win?
I think not.
In my opinion, this really comes down to two teams.
The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers and the Knicks are two of the rare teams that have the ability to trade a star or stars for Orlando’s superstar.
The Knicks can offer Amare Stoudamire and fillers to be able to pair up Melo with Howard, a traditional big man that controls the paint rather then a big man that plays the wing.
The Magic got nothing in return for Shaq in 1996 and they know they have to get someone notable in return this time around. A player like Stoudemire would still be a piece to build around and get people in the seats at Amway arena.
Finally, the Lakers.
It seems the best bet for Orlando would be to get a young center they can possibly build around in Andrew Bynum, and a 6th man of the year and all-star caliber player in Lamar Odom.
Also lets not forget what Howard said on All-Star Weekend when he was asked by a reporter who the one player he would like to play with is.
Number 24, Kobe Bryant,” Howard said without hesitation.
Howard has the personality for Hollywood and can be a main attraction for the Lakers after Kobe decides to hang it up.
There are a couple reasons why this would benefit the Lakers.
1.) Kobe is in the latter part of his career and the Lakers need to start looking at the future. Howard is someone you can build around in the following years and give more offensive control to, as Kobe gets older.
2.) Andrew Bynum is a mess. He has had multiple knee and foot injuries and cannot stay on the floor. If Orlando actually thinks he can turn his career around and help them in the future, then more power to them.
I think you must get something for Bynum now. He is one more injury away from being completely worthless and un-tradable. The 24 year old has missed 47% of his regular season games in the last four years.
This would put the Lakers in a very tough financial situation where they would have to pay a lot of luxury tax over the next few years with Gasol, Bryant, and Howard under contract.
But who cares?
The Lakers will be making $150 million per year on their television contract with Time Warner alone. Factor in tickets, jersey sales, and concessions, and the Busses have enough money to pay the steep luxury tax recently put in with the new CBA agreement.
Or they can play it safe and work towards staying under the cap.
But when have the Lakers ever played it safe?