Dwight Howard on Thursday shot down an Orlando TV station's report that he will sign a two-year contract extension with the Magi before the current collective bargaining agreement expires on July 1.
no truth to that," Howard told reporters in Birmingham, Ala., where he
spent part of the day working with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild
homes damaged by late April's deadly tornados.
"The biggest thing
right now is everybody understands I have one more year left. I'm
keeping my options open, but there's no other place I'd rather be than
Orlando. I want them to understand that.
"But, at the same time, I
do want to win, make sure everything is in line -- our team, just
everything from top to bottom -- and everybody is reaching for a
championship. It can't be me and a couple other guys. It's gotta be the
whole team [and] everybody on the staff. It's the same goal: the
championship attitude. As of right now, I don't plan to be anywhere else
Dwight Howard finally reversed his stance that there was no extension offer and that it wasn't even legal to make him one. Thank goodness for that, because that was awfully annoying.
Instead, he flat out said that he's keeping his options open. Sure, he threw Orlando fans a bone by saying Orlando is his first choice, but he wants to win. Do you think that's going to happen in Orlando with their present situation?
Dwight is screwed in terms of winning a title right now in Orlando.
If Dwight really wants to win, what team could he force himself to that would earn him a title?
Miami? Yes. He would definitely win a title if he could force himself to Miami. In fact, Chris Bosh might represent the best player they could get back for Dwight as well, and Miami would be insane not to swap Bosh for Howard if the deal was on the table.
At the same time, Orlando might never do better than that either, as sad as that may seem. Does Dwight really want to go to Miami and win that way? Who knows. I wouldn't have thought so in the past, but I wouldn't have thought LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would team up. Miami fits his criteria of staying in a warm weather climate as well.
Let's discount that theory for a moment though, because quite simply, if LeBron, Howard, and Wade were on one team, I'd stop watching the NBA until they retired. Too scary to consider.
Where's the next best team he could go to win?
Lakers for Bynum? I have to say that the Lakers would be an interesting rival for the Heat if they landed Howard for Bynum. He'd give them much better offense and defense than Bynum did, and the Lakers would probably have bodies to match up against the Heat.
However, with Pau and Kobe both reaching the age of serious decline, this would be a short term fix to his championship lust, and it wouldn't be a given that he'd pull it off, nor is it a given (at least according to what I've read) that LA would even make that trade though I have to think eventually sanity would prevail, and any idiocy about keeping Bynum would pass.
New York? If you could combine him with Amare and Melo then sure, but New York probably can't come up with any kind of trad e package that would beat letting Howard just walk away for nothing to offer Orlando, so that seems like it's out. If you include Melo or Amare in the deal then what's left isn't that good.
The Clippers? Well they could use Kamen to match salaries which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for Orlando, and they could add in Eric Gordon and maybe some draft picks.
Not sure the Clips are ready to win a title though, Dwight and Griffin would be the most explosive front court in the history of the universe, but they also wouldn't be great complements to each other necessarily, and there's no good perimeter players there. It's intriguing though.
The Thunder? If Howard doesn't mind the small town thing, this might actually be his best destination, plus the Thunder can offer up something pretty enticing while also offering up the ability to send Howard to the West.
Russell Westbrook + Kendrick Perkins + Nate Robinson works, gives Orlando back a young star and a solid vet. The Thunder get a dominant inside presence, tough guy, and a second superstar rather than just a second star.
The Thunder would be a perennial title threat after this deal, and it's something I think both sides would consider.
The Bulls would lose a lot of depth, a lot of perimeter defense, and a lot of shooting. However, they'd gain one of the most dominant players in the NBA to pair with Derrick Rose and would be perennial contenders for the next 6-7 seasons.
The deal for Dwight is probably similar to going to OKC in terms of championship contention except that in OKC he'd make it to the finals every year, in Chicago, it would be Bulls and Heat playing for the title in the ECF.
For Orlando, the OKC deal is significantly better as the overall talent level coming back may be similar, but getting a better star in Westbrook is probably more appealing to them then getting two very good players in Deng/Noah.
If Dwight's going to leave, he has to feel he has a legitimate chance to win, and I'd guess he wants that chance to last more than one season. As such there are only three places that really offer that OKC, Chicago, and Miami.
At least we're on the list, even if it's a long shot.