The Dwight Howard trade saga has gotten so frantic and crazy that it has become known as the Dwight Howard “sweepstakes”. Howard currently resides with the Orlando Magic, a team that no one on the face of the planet knows if he loves or hates, himself included.
There is not a single team in the NBA that would not benefit from the big man’s presence. The six time all-star, and three time defensive player of the year is highly coveted in the trade market, and even more so in free agency. His immense post-presence and high defensive efficiency make him what many believe to be the perfect center. Assuming he does decide that he is sick of Orlando, or Orlando decides they are sick of him, almost every team with the means to do so will be pursuing Howard.
Whenever talk of a Dwight trade is brought up, the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks, and Nets are brought up with it. It is common knowledge Dwight wants a big market where he can be “The Man” and get his face on some t-shirts. Much to the dismay of smaller market teams, this seems to be part of his criteria for a new team. I have compiled a list of five dark horse teams that Dwight could reasonably be a part of. The requirements for the list are: a. Dwight must actually be helpful to the team b. Dwight must go through a reasonable trade c. Dwight goes to a team that is not the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks, or Nets. The NBA may be shocked if any of these fell through, but I can see all of them working out relatively well.
1. Los Angeles Clippers:
Just when you thought lob city couldn’t get any cooler. Suddenly people are talking about the Clippers’ Big Three of Griffin, Paul, and Howard. Is your mind blown yet? No? Now imagine Chris Paul throwing any alley-oop to Dwight Howard. Now it’s blown. Dwight wouldn’t be the biggest star on the team, but he would have a big enough city and fan base to meet his requirements.
Clippers acquire: Dwight Howard (C)
Magic acquire: DeAndre Jordan (C), Caron Butler (SF)
2. Memphis Grizzlies:
Memphis has a basketball team? If you didn’t know before, you would if Dwight Howard joined the ball club. This is an especially interesting deal considering the Grizzlies have a decent center in Marc Gasol already. Gasol may be great, but he is no Dwight Howard. While he wouldn’t have the big flashy city that he wants so badly, Dwight would have very little competition for attention. The Grizzlies are really emerging in the first time in a while, and have some seriously great fans. With Howard and Randolph clogging up the paint, opponents would have a hard time pulling out the W in Memphis.
Grizzlies acquire: Dwight Howard (C)
Magic Acquire: Marc Gasol (C), Tony Allen (SG)
3. Phoenix Suns
C’mon. You know you want to see this. Dwight Howard and Steve Nash sharing the orange and purple floor is a beautiful thought. It seems as though the Suns have always been just one piece away from championship contention. That piece could be Dwight Howard. Howard would fit in fine with the offense-based strategy of the Suns, especially having one of the best passing point guards in the league in Steve Nash. All game plans aside, Howard and Nash are two of the nicest guys in the league, if for no other reason this would be fun to watch. While Phoenix would have to revamp their roster a little, a deal like this could pay off down the road.
Suns acquire: Dwight Howard (C)
Magic acquire: Marcin Gortat (C), Jared Dudley (SF), Hakim Warrick (PF)
4. Golden State Warriors
If Dwight Howard woke up one morning and decided he wanted to have a ton of fun, but not even make the playoffs, he would get himself into a Warriors jersey. I’m going to assume he would never do that, so this would have to be a deal orchestrated by Otis Smith, with no Howard participation. Howard would have a huge fan base, decent fans, and absolutely no competition for attention. That being said, both teams would benefit enormously from this deal. The Magic would get a solid big man in Andrew Bogut, and yet another three point shooter in Dorell Wright. This would allow the Magic to stick to their signature team build of a great center, paired with three point shooting assassins. As for the Warriors, they gain Dwight Howard. Need I say more?
Warriors acquire: Dwight Howard (C)
Magic acquire: Andrew Bogut (C), Dorell Wright (SF)
5. New York Knicks
Most of the trades thus far have been pretty one-sided or flawed in some way. Dwight Howard to the Knicks is perfect in comparison. New York would offer Dwight competition for attention, but how much bigger of a fan base can a man ask for? The Knicks are an emerging team soaked in both hype and history. Dwight would have no problems fitting in. Tyson Chandler has made it pretty clear he does not care for New York and wishes he was back with his darling Mavericks. New York will make his homesickness Orlando’s problem in exchange for Dwight Howard. One moody, defensive-minded center in exchange for another. However, there is a catch. The Knicks must also give up Iman Shumpert. Shumpert is an exciting young rookie who many believe to be a future all-star. The Knicks gain what could be the missing piece to their championship winning puzzle, and the Magic get an answer for today and hope for tomorrow. We could very well see Dwight leave his Magic Kingdom for the Big Apple.
Knicks acquire: Dwight Howard (C)
Magic acquire: Tyson Chandler (C), Iman Shumpert (G)
Conclusion: Dwight Howard is a big name player who does big name things, and endorses big name brands. However, when the time comes for him to leave Orlando, he could end up on a not-so-big team. Most of these trades are farfetched, but could prove to be very interesting for not only Howard’s career, but for NBA fans as well.