Chicago Bulls In Position To Land Dwight Howard

Chicago Bulls In Position To Land Dwight Howard

At some point in the coming weeks, it is expected that superstar big man Dwight Howard will inform the Orlando Magic that he will not return after the 2011-12 season.

That will begin a trade war the NBA has never seen.

With all due respect to Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard is on another level. If his name lands on the trade market, more than two teams will be doing creative math to figure out a way to get the big man into their uniform for next season.

And the Chicago Bulls are increasingly the best fit for Howard. Here's how.


I first cracked this school of thought in February, but the evolving landscape in the NBA certainly seems to point to the Bulls having the most favorable bargaining position. Consider what has changed since February, when I first wrote on the topic.

Derrick Rose is the league's MVP

Orlando was a disappointing first round exit

And the biggest trade chip in the theoretical market for Howard, LA's Andrew Bynum, did this:

If you're the Orlando Magic, who I might add are owned by one of the true class acts in professional sports in Rich DeVos, is this the lasting image you want associated with the exit of a personable superstar?

Would you trade Howard for an injury-prone kid that shot his mouth off to the media about there being a lack of trust in the Lakers' locker room, and then went WWE on a player half his size at the end of a blowout loss?

This isn't the first time Bynum has done something stupid, either; in January of 2009 he injured Gerald Wallace with a cheap foul, and he hammered Michael Beasley in March of this year as well.

When you look around the NBA, certainly there will be more teams than the Lakers that want Howard, but what can they offer? And with Howard having the power to request specific teams/markets in a trade, as Carmelo did, the market could be handicapped before it opens.  If Howard wants to play in a big market, the biggest markets in the league are Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

The New Jersey Nets probably have the best scenario for Howard outside of Chicago, with point guard Deron Williams and a big market. But the Nets don't have quality pieces to put into a deal, and aren't already a championship contender. How many draft picks would need to be added to a package centering on Brook Lopez for Orlando to feel appropriately compensated?

The New York Knicks aren't a likely destination for Howard because they just gave a player at the same position, Amare Stoudemire, a max contract and traded their souls for Carmelo Anthony. Not only have they already broken the bank, but they simply don't have the pieces left to deal and, frankly, have other needs they should address.

So it's between Los Angeles and... Chicago? (Forget the Clippers - they've got Blake Griffin and haven't made a play on a superstar in... ever.)

The longer the playoffs continue, and the more Taj Gibson plays, the better he looks to a potential trade partner like Orlando.

Consider that Bynum averaged 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.96 blocks per game this year while being limited by injury (again) to just 54 games. meanwhile, Gibson averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.30 blocks per game in 80 regular season games. Also consider that Gibson averaged six fewer minutes per game than Bynum, and you can't search for "taj gibson flagrant foul" on YouTube and have choices of the player being bodyslammed, which is the result of that search with Bynum's name in place of Gibson.

Am I saying any GM in the league would consider Taj Gibson and Andrew Bynum players of equal talent? No, that's ridiculous. But the reality now facing the Los Angeles Lakers is that Bynum has played in more than 65 games only once in his six-year NBA career, and that was the 2006-07 season. Now he's earning the labels of locker room big mouth and cheap shot artist.

The Bulls can, and should, feel comfortable trading multiple first round picks (as many as three) with Gibson and... wait for it.... Carlos Boozer. There isn't a team in the NBA that can send two quality big men and multiple first round picks to Orlando in a deal, but the Bulls could to precisely that.

Bynum's implosion, coupled with continued strong play from Gibson, could put the Bulls in position to make a league-altering blockbuster trade this summer.

Taj Gibson.jpg


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  • Are you totally clueless? If the Bulls have ANY intention of trading for Dwight, it will cost them a MINUMUM of Boozer, Noah and picks. In my honest opinion, the Bulls are the best option for Orlando and Dwight. The Magic are going to DEMAND their trade partner take on Arenas, Turkoglu or BOTH of them with Howard. Deng, Boozer, Noah and picks for Howard, Arenas and Turkoglu seems like a GREAT deal for Orlando and not the Bulls. But lets be honest, ANYONE on the Bulls is available for Dwight. When you have a chance to pair Dwight with Rose, Deng/Boozer/Noah should NEVER get in the way of making a deal.

  • In reply to sukid09:

    agreed... boozer/noah (who both can't stay healthy), deng and picks for Howard/whoever is cool with me...

    I'd actually like to keep Taj, but not at the expense of getting Howard, of course

  • In reply to kyletrompeter:

    @sukid09 - there's a reason I included a link to the original article from February. Read it. This piece was clearly a follow-up from then, when I said Noah would have to be the centerpiece.

    @Kyle - I would prefer keeping Taj to Boozer, but I think there are probably a few GMs in the league that see the upside/cost of the two the same way we do.

    @both - the point of this is that Bynum's stock is dropping, and Gibson's solid play is increasing his potential value. The Bulls have GOOD frontcourt pieces to put in a deal w/ Orlando - better than anyone else that would enter the bidding.

  • In reply to kyletrompeter:

    UPDATE: It appears Andrew Bynum has been suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011-12 season.

  • In reply to kyletrompeter:

    I totally agree that Howard would be a great pickup, but as others have posted, I think it would take more than Boozer and Taj to get him.

    Also, just to clarify, you mentioned that the Knicks wouldn't be interested because they have Amare at the same position and the Clippers wouldn't be interested because they have Griffin...Dwight Howard is a Center, not a Power Forward. Sometimes Amare has to play C due to the Knicks lack of size, but he is a natural PF and so is Griffin. I would put Howard next to both of those guys in a heartbeat if I were those teams.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    The argument about Amare/Griffin was only part of my argument against the Knicks or Clippers making a play. I also point out that the Knicks mortgaged the pieces they would need to make a trade for Howard in the deal for Carmelo, and state the obvious: the Clippers are too clueless to help themselves. Neither of those teams NEEDS a 25-12 guy up front considering their existing rosters & needs... that was the point. Not that you can't play a PF and C next to each other, but that they have other needs to fill and huge money invested (or will be invested in the case of LAC) in a big man already.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    "Forget the Clippers - they've got Blake Griffin and haven't made a play on a superstar in... ever."

    kobe in 2004. Lebron this past summer. They also offered 60 plus million to both Arenas and Davis who they wound up signing. Albeit you might not classify the latter two as "superstars". either way, you were clearly talking out of your ass

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    Obviously it would be great having Howard on the Bulls, but we must be careful to not trade away too much to get him. I don't believe in the Knicks theory of getting a superstar at all costs. The Knicks were not a better team after acquiring Melo BECAUSE they gave up too much to get him.

    And the reality is, whereas it may be good to have Howard, we are the best team in the league (record wise) without him. I don't want to get Howard and become the midwest Magic in the process. We would probably have to part with Noah because he's the center Orlando will need to replace Howard. We'd probably have to part with Boozer because his salary will be needed to help match what Howard will resign for before he's traded (sign and trade), and we may have to throw in a couple of (late round, maybe Charlotte's)draft picks to just sweeten the deal and free up $ for ourselves.

    But we cannot give us Gibson and Deng in addition to Noah and/or Boozer. That would be ridiculous because it would deplete our depth defensively and team wise, and those are a couple of our strengths.

    Finally, in this up coming draft, we need to do whatever we can to draft Tyler Honeycutt out of UCLA. He's a 6'8" guy who can effectively play the 2 or the 3 spot.

  • In reply to ChicaliK:

    The Bulls wouldn't become the "midwest Magic" because of one simple reality: Derrick Rose.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    It's funny, because my friend and I were just discussing this exact scenario on Monday night.

    I am OK with our front court right now, but I think it would take something like this:

    Boozer, Noah, Asik and a first round pick for a few expiring contracts. As much as I wouldn't want to part with Joakim, but it would be hard to pass up the opportunity to land Howard.

    If Howard informs the Magic that he intends to leave, they'll want to try and get fair return value for him, which will be difficult because it will be made public, and that will decrease their stance.

    I wouldn't include Deng or Gibson in that deal though, as you can't deplete our entire front court just to land him.

  • In reply to watchyourtone:

    You don't trade three PF/Cs. It's an either-or proposition with Noah or Boozer with Taj or Asik. No more than two go, and the Bulls still have decent depth despite moving two good players in any trade.

  • In reply to kayak0109:

    Don't look for this trade to happen for these reasons, first off, Howard said he prefers a warm weather team and the Magic will not trade him to a eastern conference team making their odds even worse to compete for a championship. If Howard was serious about winning as he says he is he would have the Bulls at the top of his list. The Lakers I'm sure will make a run at him but Howard needs to really look at the situation there cause the Lakers will not be the same team if Phil Jackson does indeed retire. Trust me on that cause Phil has had other assistants to try and coach a team on their own and has failed really bad. The Lakers will still be a very good team, but I really think they believe they can win a championship without Phil. They will be sadly mistaking if they think they can win without Jackson just like before when they let Phil go.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    please excuse typing error.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Howard wants to get paid, no matter the weather. You don't notice snow very much when you're making more than $20 million.

  • In reply to sukid09:

    They may demand it but there is noone who can take on the contracts of Howard and Arenas and Turkeglue, or the contracts to send back to the magic in the form of players that the magic would even consider to take back.

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • In reply to sukid09:

    Crazy! I have actually stated "almost" this exact trade scenario over at the Bull's Confidential boards, In fact I just finished replying to someone a minute ago about this deal again!

    Anyway I will summarize...

    Thanks to the flexibility that Gar/Pax have left themselves this offseason they have the chips to sign and trade for Dwight Howard...

    * Three - 1st rounders (one is a possible/probable lottery pick from Charlotte)

    * Taj Gibson- Young PF showcasing himself in these playoffs - owed only $1.2 mil next year, with a $2 mil team option for the next year

    * Omer Asik (The Turkish Hammer) A true 7 Foot rookie, that showed plenty of promise this year, getting $1.8 Million next year.

    * Carlos Boozer Former star PF, All-Pro quality, low-post big man: immediate replacement and legitimacy for Orlando

    *Ronnie Brewer - good contract/team player/quality NBA player

    In return, besides Dwight Howard, the Bulls take on the Huge contract of Gilbert Arenas, who Orlando will want to unload if they are getting rid of Howard because of his contract.

    I actually think that taking back Arenas might actually be a blessing in disguise for Chicago. (With the team we have, and Howard coming over with him, Arenas will probably try to fit right in, and not be any kind of distraction on a Bulls squad led by Thibodeau

    So Three 1st Rounders, with one a possible lottery (Charlotte).
    Taj and Omer (the Future and Present Front court)- Young and Good PF and C - for 3 MIL next year! All pro quality Big Man in Boozer, take back Arenas' bad contract, ronnie brewer(good contract/team player/quality NBA player) to make it work.and Booyah

    Before you laugh it off, realize that just as we did, the league sees Boozer as an All Pro quality low-post big man and his deal is actually pretty solid and then you consider that Orlando will be getting three big men for the price of one, ith the picks, and it all starts to make sense.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    No way I take Arenas back under any circumstances. The Bulls have cap flexibililty because they don't have fugly, dead weight contracts on their books.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    You are kidding right?

    You seriously wouldn't take Arenas and his contract back if it meant getting Dwight Howard? That's just crazy talk!

    There are about 29 GM's in the NBA who would disagree with you!

    It's a fact of life that whomever gets Dwight Howard, will be taking back either Gilbert Arenas or Turkolgu or both.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    I know Gilbert's contract absolutely stinks...but at that point you don't need any more are filling your team out with minimum contracts from Vets who will take that to win a championship (see Miami)

    Also, consider that although next year will be $20 Million for Arenas, the year after is a Player Option for the remaining 2 years...which means that the Bulls would be doing a buyout...such as $12-14 Million for him not to pick it really you have him for a year, and then pay to to buy him out...That's a no brainer for both the Bulls and Arenas.

    Think of our lineup...

    PG - D.Rose (MVP - All-Star - Top 5 Player)

    S.G - G.Arenas (although he has lost explosion, he still has unlimited range and would be absolutely deadly next to Rose - career 42% FG% & 35% 3PT%)

    SF - L.Deng - (Top 5 SF - excellent perimeter defender, 3/4 scoring option)

    PF - D.Howard - (Top big man in the NBA - Top Low post defender)

    C - J.Noah - (Perfect compliment to Howard down low, Excellent low post defender)

    Bench - CJ. Watson, K. Bogans, 4 Vets that will sign for the minimum to win an easy championship, K.Thomas might be one of them)

    This team is easily the favorite to win the championship for at least the next 5 years.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    What did New York do wrong? They thought like you - "at that point you don't need any more are filling your team out with minimum contracts"


    Furthermore, you appear to have zero grasp of the reality of this situation: if the Bulls acquired Howard, they would have two players on their roster requiring max contracts. There isn't room for vets at the minimum if you bring in Arenas, much less space to give Rose & Howard the max.

    Now if you said the Magic would want to dump Arenas and that a third team would have to be in play, as was the case w/ Melo moving to NY, then I might consider this a rational thought. But there's no chance Arenas comes to Chicago in a deal for Howard. Zero. None.

  • In reply to the1tab:

    RE: There isn't room for vets at the minimum if you bring in Arenas, much less space to give Rose & Howard the max.

    Um, You do know that regardless of the Salary Cap, a team is allowed to fill their roster out with minimum contracts, right? It seems that you do not know/or understand that... Look it up.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    I'm thrilled that you have a clear separation of finance and salary cap. where did I say, in my previous comment, that there wasn't room UNDER THE CAP for the Bulls to fill their roster? I was referring to having 3 maxed players being terrible business. Furthermore, taking on a contract like Arenas is completely contradictory to everything the Bulls have done in the last 2-3 years. Back away from the discussion... please...

  • In reply to the1tab:

    and another thing...

    Comparing this deal to the New York deal is absolutely ridiculous.

    The Knicks traded away 4 starters for Carmelo..

    The Bulls would be trading away 1 starter (Boozer), for an immediate upgrade and replacement (Howard), AND getting another starter in Arenas, so you would have all other starters returning plus CJ, and Bogans for Depth...

    It's not even close to the same thing...

    Plus with this squad, just like Miami, regardless of where we are at the cap, we would be able to use the Mid-Level Exception to improve the team every year.

    Plus, see what I said about buying out Arenas player option the very NEXT YEAR...

    Also it seems that you do not grasp the fact that a bad contract MUST go with Howard for the Magic to bite on the deal.

    So really it's just that you have no grasp of the way the NBA Salary Cap and roster structure work.Zero.None.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    OK... I have no grasp of the salary cap...

    Arenas & Howard will make over $37M next year. Where are the Bulls coming up with the extra $18M+ in salary to cover Arenas' salary? Boozer+Deng+Noah is only $35M next year, and there's NO CHANCE the Bulls deal those three for Arenas & Howard. NONE.

    If you're going to talk about the cap, at least know the salaries you're talking about. Child please

  • In reply to the1tab:

    I was just about to comment about the huge discrepancies in salaries going back and forth until I saw this last post from Tab. Not to mention that to balance out the salaries the Bulls would be have to pay a far higher price in talent to cover the idiotic contract structuring of the Washington Wizards... Boozer and Deng + draft picks would be fair compensation in a swap for Howard and Turkoglu, and the only way the contracts would be equal swapping from one payroll to the other.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    i would trade boozer and omer 2 picks for howard. bulls starting rose pg- deng sg- howard c- noah pf- gibson sm-

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    I would LOVE to see Howard in Chicago and think it's very likely to happen. What about the Bulls sending Noah, Boozer or Gibson, and draft picks for Howard and Redick?? I wouldn't mind seeing a starting 5 of Rose, Redick, Deng, Howard, and Boozer/Gibson (whichever isn't dealt).

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    Pax could of had Rose/Howard/Carmelo. Doesn't that seem way better than Lebron/Bosh/Wade? Anyway I'd be concerned how Howard would work with Noah. But we DEFINITELY need to trade boozer this offseason. Boozer + first round picks for Howard would be the best scenario.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    lol. exactly

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    Ok, Obviously, I was wrong, as the trade as I said it would put the Bulls at $71 Million next year - Even replacing Turkolugu for Arenas would put us a couple of Million over an estimated salary cap of $62 million next year, so thats that...but Tab telling me to get out of the discussion instead of just explaining that is a bit over the top...especially since I love Committed Indians..anyway Go Bulls!...Let's beat the Heat in 6.

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    With all due respect... it was you who said to me: "So really it's just that you have no grasp of the way the NBA Salary Cap and roster structure work.Zero.None."

    Go Bulls!

  • In reply to zmorg77:

    I would Love to have Howard as a Bull. And I think it will happen. But not this off season. I think the New York Knicks gave the blueprint of want NOT to do when going for an upcoming free agent No way I think the Bulls give up as much as New York did to get Carmelo. I would offer Boozer and the draft picks but thats all. If the magic don't accept that then I would back off at let Howard go to free agency. Howard should want to come play with his fast don't lie/ addidas partner. What other team would be able to compete with MIA. Thibs is a defensive coach, coaching the NBA's best defensive team. Howard is the 3 time defensive player of the year. He gets to play with the MVP. At a big city, bright lights. Chicago is Hot during the off season, its the season when it gets cold and by then he will be traveling the country.

    Why would Howard want to go to a aging Kobe Bryant and Phil jackson less LA Lakers. Or to a rebuilding Brooklyn team?
    The only other scenario for Howard I can think of is him joining Wade and James in South Beach for a trade for bosh to Orlando. But then I would stop watching basketball forever.....

  • In reply to Originator88:

    The only difference between the Bulls and Knicks/Melo deal is that the Bulls have adequate depth to make a deal in this situation. The Knicks had three good players and needed draft picks to surround two star players. The Bulls can afford to throw the farm at a superstar big man and can afford to dump picks in the late-20s.

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