During the Dwight Howard trade rumors, three teams have been reported as potential landing spots for Howard: the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets (and the Atlanta Hawks have emerged as potential dark horses). For the Nets, a Howard trade is an absolute no-brainer. He wants to play in Brooklyn, which means he would sign a contract extension this season. With him in the lineup, the Nets would be an immediate championship contender, and the draw of Howard would continue to feed into the unprecedented publicity and buzz for the franchise. Despite wanting to get a deal done, the Nets recently pulled out of talks because they were tired of waiting around for the Magic.
The Lakers emerged as the second team in the trade sweepstakes and trading for Howard also makes a lot of sense. The Lakers would be taking a risk that Howard doesn’t re-sign, but even if he is just a one-year rental, the Lakers have a chance to win a championship in that one season. Also, once Howard gets to L.A. and plays alongside Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol in the NBA’s second-biggest market, there is a good chance he would opt to re-sign with the franchise after next season. So while there is risk for the Lakers, it is a risk worth taking, the same of which can’t be said of the Houston Rockets.
Ever since the NBA season ended, Daryl Morey has been by far the most active general manager in the NBA. He has completely reshaped his roster as he continues to gather assets to use in a trade for the superstar he so desperately craves, but trading for Dwight Howard would be the worst mistake of Morey’s career.
The Rockets’ trade offer to Orlando includes Patrick Patterson, Chandler Parsons, Marcus Morris and Kevin Martin, as well as the draft rights to their three first-round picks this year – Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White – PLUS multiple draft picks. In the meantime, the Rockets would take back Howard and at least two or three of the Magic’s bad contracts with some combination of Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, and Chris Duhon. Now, I must ask, how does this trade make the 2012-13 Houston Rockets any different from the 2011-12 Orlando Magic? The answer is that it doesn’t.