The Dwight Howard drama has now been going on for three years, with two teams, on two different coasts. There are still constant rumblings about where he will end up. He recently stated this week that he knew where he was going to play next year, but in reality there are only four possible outcomes.
Most Probable: Resigns with Los Angeles Lakers
– The Lakers can offer him the most money, because they own his rights, but he also gets to be a star and celebrity in Hollywood and he will eventually be the king of LA once Kobe retires. Those are three strong reasons why Dwight will most likely stay in LA. However, this season’s drama could sway his opinion of the team and if he has problems with management, Kobe or Mike D’Anotni, then he could choose to leave. Overall, the allure of Los Angeles and the highest payday possible, will most likely keep Dwight with the Lakers long term. This is by far the most logical option for Dwight Howard.
Possible: Signs with Dallas Mavericks
– If Howard goes to another team without it being a sign and trade, he will lose over 30 million dollars, but if he is desperate to get out, the Mavericks seem to be the top suitors. He has expressed a desire to play in Dallas for years and would get to play on a championship contender. He would be able to play for Mark Cuban, who most players love to play for, he would be able to play with the perfect frontcourt partner for him, in Dirk Nowitzki and if the team is able to keep OJ Mayo, they would have an excellent scorer in the backcourt. The Mavericks would be special if they added Howard and there seems to be mutual interest as the Mavericks desperately wanted to pull of a sign and trade, but did not have the pieces to pull it off and once again, Dwight Howard has stated that he would play for the team. However, Howard does not seem to be the type to walk away from 30 million dollars and the Mavericks do not have the pieces for a sign and trade, so that is a major deterrent. But it certainly could happen.
Possible Sign and Trade to Atlanta Hawks
– If Howard forces his way out of LA, he will not want to leave any money on the table and the Lakers would not want to lose him without getting value, so a sign and trade with the Hawks is a real possibility. This move makes sense for numerous reasons, Howard is from Atlanta, Josh Smith is one of his best friends and the Hawks have created the cap space to be able to sign Dwight Howard to a maximum contract if they make a few small moves. If Howard truly wants to leave LA, the Hawks could offer them a fantastic package of Al Horford, Lou Williams and other pieces. Horford could be their new big man down low and would fit well in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, as he is a very good mid-range shooter and Lou Williams would give them the bench star they have lacked for years. It is near impossible to get fair value for Howard (just ask the Magic), but the Hawks have the pieces to make it work, the money to sign him and the opportunity to bring Dwight Howard back home. A trio of Howard, Smith and the much-improved Jeff Teague would be an excellent place to start over for the Hawks.
Long Shot: Sign and Trade to Los Angeles Clippers
– Once again, if Howard leaves the Lakers, a sign and trade would be the most likely move and the Clippers have the best package possible. If they offered Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe and other pieces, the Lakers would jump all over that offer. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard would love to play to together and would create a potential champion. Obviously the deal makes sense for both teams, but there is one problem, there is little to no chance that the Clippers and Lakers would ever make this kind of trade to help each other. However, they must be mentioned as Howard would in all likelihood love to be a Clipper, the Clippers have the pieces to make a trade work, the Lakers would most likely take that offer and Howard would get his money. But once again, this is a long shot.