Who wants Dwight? Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
This will be the first time in Up and In where I will be speaking in first person, and I’ll make sure this is going to be fun.
I love NBA trades. I love talking about it, I love reading about it. I love coming up with ideas about trading someone to somebody. With Dwight Howard being in the center of trade rumors, it got my armchair GM blood pumping.
In an article by Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops (link right here), it was mentioned that Houston Rockets’ Center Dwight Howard is unhappy about being the second fiddle to James Harden. Also on a piece on ESPN (linked here), it was stated that Howard is also unhappy about the losing. With these circling around, rumors have been heavy about Howard asking for a trade, in which was denied by him, according to sources (according to the same ESPN article), but could be a free agent this summer by declining his Player Option.
So far, Howard is averaging 12.3 points per game this season, on a Rockets team that has been all but disappointing so far, . Those twelve points are coming in on 8.3 shots per game, ties his career low that he posted during his rookie year, so the idea that he’s unhappy being the second fiddle has a ton of merit.
Here’s the problem with Dwight though, at 30 years old, with a huge salary and a player option for next year, it could be really difficult to find a trade partner for Houston to unload Howard. Now, add to it that he can opt out this year, the task has gotten into ultra hard mode, as chances are teams who would trade for him might end up just having him for half a season. But regardless, we have a player who’s being rumored that wants out and could be traded, why not find a trade that could work?
Two trade proposals have been mentioned by known NBA writers. Let’s dissect them and see if it makes sense.
In the same article, Chris Sheridan suggested Miami is the good place to trade Dwight Howard. He mentioned that he could be the alpha dog in that team, and Miami would have the pieces to entice Houston for a switch. He had two proposed ideas.
Basically, the two main pieces that would move would be Howard and Hassan Whiteside, a player who Miami is also having problems with trying to keep him. But here’s the concern, both trades involve rookie Justise Winslow and Luol Deng.
Now, set aside for a second the idea that Dwight Howard is a better Center option than Whiteside (both can impact the game defensively, both can’t hit Free Throws, both kill spacing), but Miami would have to give up both their Small Forwards in this deal. If this pushes thru, they’d end up having Gerald Green at the 3, a decent player in that spot, but no where close as good a defender as Winslow or even Deng in his declined state. Does Miami trust Howard’s defensive impact that much that they would be okay giving up both their reliable SF’s?t
Also, with Wade and Bosh on the team, does Miami really need an alpha dog in the middle? Hassan holds his own defensively, which is what Howard’s main strength coming in, so why give up Winslow for basically close the the same player?
Another trade idea that surfaced was from Bill Simmons. In his Twitter account, he suggested that the Washington Wizards should go for Dwight, in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Nene’s expiring contract and a 1st round pick. Now while this makes sense, as the Wiz needs an upgrade in defense, the risk would be Howard staying. Unlike Miami, the Wizards are not a guarantee to make the Finals even with Dwight in the lineup, and the chances of him opting out and leaving for better pastures could be likely. Basically, this could end up with Washington paying Houston a 1st round pick for a Dwight Howard rental.
And, if we want to go more deeper, it would also face problems if he stays. If he picks up his Player Option, then there goes the chance on Kevin Durant going home.
Dwight Howard would be a welcoming upgrade for the Wizards. But unless they win the Championship this year, it’s highly unlikely he stays.
So, we broke down the media suggested trades. There could be more out there I haven’t read, but let’s just do that two for now. Now, are there other trade scenarios? Something that could make sense? Something that could work for both teams?
Well, maybe I got a few ideas…
New York Knicks:
This could be very interesting here. A package of Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams and Kevin Seraphin will work salary wise to get Dwight Howard. The Knicks may need to add a first round pick here, but they could easily leverage Houston into the deal due to Howard’s contract length and opt out ability.
This works for the Rockets as they get a Center who may not be as good as Dwight, but a solid player all around, a better FT shooter and a guy who would not ask for a lot of touches of the ball (perfect for a James Harden ISO heavy system).
The Knicks, meanwhile, would be a good place for Howard to be the alpha dog, even with Carmelo Anthony in the team. What also makes this enticing is that rookie Kristaps Porzingis is the perfect big man tandem for Dwight, as he is a three point shooting threat, stretching the floor for Howard to be able to work down low.
For Houston, an unhappy Howard that possibly would move on after this year, Robin Lopez and a 1st round pick would not be a bad return.
As for New York, a Howard – Porzingis – Anthony – Afflalo core could make noise in the East, a lot of noise. Yeah, that looks like a team right there.
This works exactly like how it would with New York. Phoenix could trade Tyson Chandler, Mirza Teletovic and a 1st round pick (Phoenix has their own and Cleveland’s via Boston, which is protected 11-30, so yeah, that’s going to convey).
Houston gets a stretch 4 they’re looking for in Teletovic, and a replacement defensive specialist big in Tyson Chandler. Only concern here is Chandler is locked up for 3 more years after this season, and he’s on the wrong side of 30. But then again, with the cap rising, $13 million a year for 3 more years should not be that much of a burden.
Howard could be the alpha in Phoenix and there’s enough shooting in that squad to provide him a lane he can make work on. He would have PG’s who can get him the ball too with the Suns. Those touches he’s been wanting to have in Houston this year, that’s coming in Phoenix. And there’s plenty of help with Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe to form a core trio that could definitely contend for a post season berth.
But as with most of these trades, the problem relies on Howard and his Player Option. Would Phoenix be willing to pay a 1st round pick knowing that Dwight can leave at the end of the year?
The package would be David Lee’s expiring contract, Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and a first round pick that’s not Brooklyn’s 2016 (hell no).
This is going to be a very good trade for Houston. They get a draft pick, a young player who could be really good moving forward, a player who plays a the same position as the player leaving, and an expiring contract to free up room to be able to sign players next year, which also happens to be a good player on his own too. That’s going to be a very good haul for Dwight.
So why do this for the Celtics? Well, Dwight is looking to be the man, the Celtics need a man. Perfect match, assuming Dwight would be willing to BE the man. Kelly Olynyk and even to some extent Amir Johnson can hit three’s, which gives Howard a lot of breathing room down low. He can get most of the shots, and Brad Stevens has shown he can put players in situations where they would be successful, he can surely come up with a system than benefits Howard’s inside presence.
Also, just for a second, look at this potential lineup.
Smart – Bradley – Crowder – Johnson – Howard.
That’s a heck of a defensive lineup. Howard can still make a tremendous impact defensively, patrolling the lane, cleaning up the boards and altering shots, and he will be surrounded with 3 excellent perimeter defenders and running mate on the front court who’s also good enough to help protect the rim.
This is somewhat personal to me. I thought Dwight Howard is not someone you build around with. Very limited offensively, doesn’t show up in the 4th quarter, and could easily become a whining diva in the locker room. But the more I think about this, the more I’m being convinced this is going to be good for my Celtics (yes, I called them MY Celtics, now you know).
Los Angeles Lakers:
Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams for Dwight Howard, Marcus Thornton, and a 2nd round pick. You know, just to piss him off for acting out too much. But hey, if he just waits half a year more, Kobe will retire, and no one will torment him. He’ll finally be the man in LA.
(this part is satire, alright?)
In any case. Houston is facing a tough situation with Dwight. He’s not happy, and he could leave next year. Maybe it’s time to consider moving him, regardless if he asks for a trade or not.