It finally seemed like Dwight Howard found a home in Houston. He hand picked it in free agency, and the Rockets entered this season fresh off a Western Conference Finals appearance.
But forget all that stuff — Dwight is unhappy playing second fiddle to James Harden, and reportedly wants out of Houston.
Honestly, there’s not a team Howard could be a top option and win at this stage of his career and expect to win games. But let’s see if we can make Dwight happy.
Breakdown: This is probably more than Miami would be willing to give up, and frankly, a steal of a deal for Houston if this were the return. But let’s say Pat Riley just has to get his hands on Howard.
The Heat can now roll out a starting-five consisting of Dragic, Wade, Bosh and Howard, while Gerald Green would likely step into the hole left by Deng. There’s really no way to make the contracts match without including Deng in the trade, so getting back Terry and Thornton should help fill that SF void.
For Houston, it’s an obvious victory. Trade an often-injured, aging star who doesn’t want to be there and get back pieces for the future that also help you win now. Houston might even have to include a pick to make Miami happy with this. With Howard gone, the Rockets have the money (and now inside track) to re-sign Whiteside, and get a future stud in Winslow. Imagine if that duo develops alongside Clint Capela in the front court!?
Breakdown: The Hawks have lost their magic from last season. Being the top seed in the east is looking more like a fluke, which means Atlanta needs a shakeup. So why not a homecoming of sorts?
Howard is from Atlanta, and has always been curious about playing there. It costs the Hawks a stud in Millsap, and a good young prospect in Schroder. However, with Jeff Teague already there and the Hawks in need of a shakeup, this could be perfect. The deal allows Al Horford to team up with Dwight and form a giant frontline. Don’t forget Terry was also drafted by Atlanta and would welcome returning.
It’s not a sexy return for the Rockets, but they aren’t playing well and this could help. Capela has the ability to move over to center, while Millsap steps in at PF and helps Harden carry the scoring load. Schroder would be a sneaky good add at PG too — a position that’s been a revolving door during Harden’s time there.
Breakdown: Ok so let’s start with the two obvious issues. Yes, this trade can be completed thanks to a $10+ million trade exception the Cavs have from Brendan Haywood. And no, Dwight CLEARLY would not be going to Cleveland to avoid being a “second fiddle.” He’d be more of a fourth fiddle.
That said … why not? The Cavs roll the dice on bringing in Howard and bet on him to improve their team, while giving away a pair of bigs that can help Houston win now. The Cavs, who are already heavily favored in the east, would simply need to decide if they feel this move helps them contend with the Warriors or Spurs.
From Houston’s side, the return is pretty lackluster aside from the possibility of re-signing Mozgov. The Cavs would be expected to sweeten the pot with a couple of draft picks. It doesn’t change their team much this season, though.
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