Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Could Land the Center
The Dwight Howard trade rumors are in full force, as Yahoo! stud Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that the Houston Rockets are now going out of their way to “contact teams” and gauge their interest in their veteran center.
Things just got real. Very real.
It was certainly believed that the 30-year old Howard could be had if the right deal came along. After all, Howard has been banged up with various ailments for the better part of three years and often isn’t even available for the second game of back to back sets. That, and his would-be elite presence in the paint hasn’t prevented a team that was in the Western Conference Finals a year ago from slipping to the brink of missing the playoffs.
Currently resting as the Western Conference’s 9th best team after losing to Portland on Wednesday night, Houston officially has a problem.
Per Woj, they’re not afraid to admit it, and if the right team brings the right package to them, they appear ready to pull the trigger.
It only makes sense, too, since Howard can walk after this season with no compensation coming the Rockets’ way. If they fear he could do exactly that – and they clearly do – they would be wise to trade him now and get all they can for him. They have until the league’s trade deadline – February 18th – to get something done.
This is news, but it’s not ground-breaking. The real turn is where do we go from here. Obviously even a banged up, 30-year old Howard still holds plenty of value and in the right situation he could very well still be a total game-changer. The question is where does he wind up? Let’s take a look at the five best landing spots:
Boston has a collection of quality big men, but not a star among the lot. They could piece together a combination of assets and interesting young talent to land Howard and then cross their fingers that he re-ups with them next summer. Who or what that includes is anyone’s guess, but the likes of Marcus Smart, Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger would be appealing and certainly are not off limits. The Celtics have recently turned their sights to Atlanta big man Al Horford, but had already been rumored to be looking Howard’s way as recently as February 3rd.
Dwight Howard to the Nets hasn’t been a hot trade rumor, but maybe it should be. Brook Lopez is arguably a superior offensive player, as he can actually shoot free throws and hit a jumper, and he can even block shots on defense. He’s a downgrade overall on defense, but he’s younger and with the right supporting cast, could be precisely what the Rockets need down low. Howard, meanwhile, could go to Brooklyn and try to lead the Nets back into the playoffs. That, or he jumps ship this summer and signs on with the highest bidder. Lopez is the more secure long-term investment, but a straight up swap could be beneficial for both sides.
This isn’t happening, but how sweet would it be if it did? Dwight could stay somewhat close to home and would finally give Mark Cuban what he’s been asking for – a talented star center that could put a strong Dallas team back over the top. The Mavs are already there offensively, and though Zaza Pachulia has been better than some thought, he has begun to regress. Howard still has a couple of good elite seasons in him and could even stick around past this year. The two key problems, of course, are Houston won’t love the idea of helping Dallas and the Mavs don’t have much to trade that Houston would covet.
The days of Dwight Howard commanding a king’s ransom may be gone, but if they still exist, perhaps the Nuggets would be willing to try their hand at sweetening the pot. Denver isn’t going anywhere as constructed, but they have a ton of good young players and some assets to dispose of. A combination of Danilo Gallinari, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkis and/or Kenneth Faried would be rather appealing for a Houston team trying to gain more balance across the board.
This might be my favorite one and if you think about it, it makes the most sense. As much potential as Hassan Whiteside has, he’s always been seen as somewhat of a volatile personality, while injuries and inconsistency have kept him from fully blown up into the elite post presence he appears to have the talent to become.
That’s Houston’s bargaining tool – talking Whiteside’s value down. Perhaps there is a straight up trade there, as the Heat get a veteran, win-now player to bolster one more title run for Dwyane Wade, and the Rockets get back a long-term player dripping with talent and upside. Miami could even throw in a shooter like Gerald Green and a spare big man like Amare Stoudemire – whatever would make it work.
Think there is a better spot for Howard? Tell us in the comments below!
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