Dwight Howard to the Nets?…Not So Fast

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Okafor's Corner
Tags: , , , , ,

Only a few hours after David Stern nixed the trade that will send superstar Chris Paul from a small-market team to a big-market team, reports emerged that another superstar is likely to be traded from another small-market team to another big-market team. This time around, the superstar is Dwight Howard.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported last night that Dwight Howard is on the verge of asking the Magic to trade him to the New Jersey Nets, soon to be the Brooklyn Nets. On the surface, it seems that Howard will inevitably end up with Nets because of several reasons:

 1.The Nets are his preferred destination.

 2. Howard will not return to the Magic after the season and therefore, the Magic must trade Howard to avoid losing him for nothing.

 3. Teams will not trade for Howard if he does not assure them that he will sign a long-term extension.

All those reasons lead to one conclusion: Howard has ALL the leverage in this situation. The team that he wants to play for will be team that the Magic will trade him to and ultimately, the Nets will be that team.

But a problem could potentially emerge. The package that the Nets are reportedly willing to offer the Magic is not appealing. The package comprises of Brook Lopez1, two first-round draft picks, and probably a few more insignificant players. Also, the Nets are reportedly willing to take back Hedo Turkoglu and his atrocious 3-year, $38 million contract.

The Lakers and the Bulls are other teams rumored to be interested in acquiring Howard and they can offer a more attractive package. Assuming that the trade of Paul to the Lakers will remain vetoed, the Lakers could offer the Magic a combination of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and some other players/picks. The Bulls could offer Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson or Omer Asik, and some draft picks. Those packages are definitely more appealing than what the Nets will offer.

So, what if the Magic approach Howard and ask that he consider going the Lakers or the Bulls?

Apparently, Howard is attracted to the Nets because the team will play in a big market city (the Nets will call Brooklyn their home starting in the 2012-2013 season) and seemingly, the Nets will become a legitimate title contender the minute that he arrives. Well, the Lakers and the Bulls neatly fit into both criteria. Behind New York City, Los Angeles is the biggest market followed by Chicago. With Kobe and Howard, the Lakers will be viewed as a team that can defeat the Heat, the prohibitive favorite to win the championship. Pair Howard with Rose and a healthy Boozer and one can reasonably argue that the Bulls are the best team in the East.

So, I ask again. What if the Magic approach Howard and ask that he consider going the Lakers or the Bulls?

What happens after the question is asked will depend on if Howard is hell-bent on playing for the Nets. If Howard is fixated on playing for the soon to be Brooklyn Nets then Howard will certainly end up with the Nets before the end of the season. If not, then the Lakers or the Bulls are the next most logical destination. As a Bulls fan, I am hoping that the latter, rather than the former, is the reality. At least, in the latter, the Bulls will have a chance to acquire Howard.

1 As a center and measuring at 7 feet tall, he averaged a measly total of 6 rebounds per game. And this guy is the central piece of your trade proposal? Really? Not to mention, Lopez is a poor defender.

Twitter: Follow @five2pickup

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