Every single day we hear reports that Dwight Howard is and isn’t leaving Houston. With the trade deadline on Thursday, we know what is going to happen. Houston doesn’t want Howard and Howard doesn’t want Houston. With a player option in 2016, Howard will reject it, becoming a free agent. The Rockets are currently out of the playoffs and Howard is making them worse. Houston needs to get something in return. I have some ideas where he could end up.
Houston receives: PF David Lee, C Jared Sullinger, SG James Young and a 2016 Mavericks 1st-round pick
Boston receives: C Dwight Howard
Why Houston accepts?
Houston saves a lot by accepting this deal. David Lee’s $15 million contract will be bought out or off the books at the end of the year. His only value in the trade is his cap hit. Jared Sullinger is a young, versatile forward. His next contract will be cheaper than both Dwight Howard’s and Terrence Jones. Jared Sullinger, Montrezl Harrell and Clint Capella is a young, promising and talented front court in Houston for years. James Young gives James Harden a future backup. He is only 20 years old and will likely play in the D-League for the rest of the year. An extra 1st-round draft pick never hurts.
Why Boston accepts?
Danny Ainge is searching for stars. Boston is loaded with draft picks, young talent and expiring contracts. They are the only team that doesn’t need to break up their core to acquire Dwight Howard. David Lee and James Young aren’t in the rotation. Jared Sullinger starts, but the Celtics need a bigger center to get the best out of their undersized, jam packed frontcourt. With Brad Stevens’ defense-first mindset, Marcus Smart-Avery Bradley-Jae Crowder-Amir Johnson-Dwight Howard is a scary defensive situation lineup. The Mavericks pick is expendable and makes the Celtics major winners in the Rajon Rondo trade. Also, Howard will be the best player and first option on the Celtics.
Miami Heat-Atlanta Hawks
Houston receives: PG Goran Dragic, C Hassan Whiteside and C Chris Andersen
Miami receives: C Al Horford and PG Jeff Teague
Atlanta receives: C Dwight Howard and PF Terrence Jones
(from Frank Isola of the NY Daily News):
Dwight Howard could be moved by Thursday’s trade deadline. Miami is talking with Houston about a deal that would include Hassan Whiteside.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 15, 2016
When asked about Dwight Howard, ESPN’s Chris Broussard said,
“I’m told he would like to get to Atlanta”
Why Houston accepts?
Hassan Whiteside is the prize in the deal because his strength is where Houston lacks, defense. Whiteside’s 3.9 blocks per game is an NBA best. He will anchor a swiss cheese defense that Howard has failed to anchor. If he likes it, Houston can re-sign him for less than a Howard-level max contract. Goran Dragic gives the Rockets another backcourt playmaker which they desperately need — Ty Lawson has been terrible and Patrick Beverley’s stats are equivalent to a backup. Dragic will take the ball out of Harden’s hands and put him back in a true shooting guard role. Chris Andersen’s $5 million cap hit will be off the books next season.
Why Miami accepts?
Al Horford and Jeff Teague are major upgrades from Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. Horford and Teague have been on consistent playoff teams and have experience in the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Heat want to give Wade one more title shot, they need Horford and Teague’s experience. It also takes major offensive pressure off Chris Bosh. Teague has an $8 million cap hit next season. He gives the Heat financial flexibility to potentially lure in Kevin Durant. Horford may not return next season, but it gives the Heat the best chance to win now.
Why Atlanta accepts?
Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, and Terrence Jones is a scary three-headed front court. Millsap is the Hawks star, but Howard won’t hide in his shadow. As long as Howard isn’t hiding in someone’s shadow, he will be happy. Howard’s best landing spot is Atlanta because it is his hometown. He is the NBA’s best player from Atlanta and will automatically get the love from the fans. This gives Howard the best chance to revitalize his career. Finding the old Dwight Howard makes it worth it for the Hawks. Terrence Jones is key. Tiago Splitter is dealing with a hip injury and may need season ending surgery. This deal keeps the Hawks relevant in the Eastern Conference.
– Howard may sign in Atlanta this offseason no matter where he gets traded.
Houston receives: C Marcin Gortat and PF Nene Hilario
Washington receives: C Dwight Howard
Why Houston accepts?
Marcin Gortat is averaging one point and two rebounds less per game than Dwight Howard in 2015-2016. His cap hit is also $11 million less. With two seasons left on his contract after 2016, the Rockets will have financial flexibility with the cap rising these next two seasons. Gortat isn’t going to take over a game, but his game is consistent. His most underrated stat is his 27 double-doubles before the All-Star break. Nene’s value is his contract. His cap hit is $13 million, and isn’t owed money after this season. Gortat’s team first mentality will surge the Rockets back into the playoffs.
Why Washington accepts?
The Washington Wizards have been a major disappointment this season. They sit three games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs and Randy Wittman won’t last long if they stay irrelevant. Dwight Howard makes the Wizards relevant. Howard is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds per game. John Wall’s pass first mentality makes Howard the perfect teammate. He can dominate the post if he can get the ball. Bradley Beal is having his best scoring season, but isn’t ball dominant. Washington would have a dominant Big 3 that could save multiple jobs in the organization.