Look out everyone, Superman is on the move. With the March 15 deadline approaching fast, much talk and speculation has been made as to whether or not Dwight Howard will be traded by the Orlando Magic and where he will end up if they do. Before all hell breaks lose with rumours of potential landing spots for the reigning three-time Defensive Player of the Year, let's take a step back and examine all the options for Dwight Howard. The first that we must point out, and have probably already gathered by now, is that Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. However, with Dwight hinting that there are only a small number of teams that he will re-up with instead of hitting free agency, it's clear that Los Angeles, Dallas and New Jersey are the only three teams that could land Dwight and get him to sign on long-term. Let's start with;
Los Angeles LakersThe Lakers. The Lakers appeared to be the frontrunners for the dominant centre until rumours began to emerge that Kobe Bryant had scared Howard off, seemingly not being interested in creating a devastating 1-2 punch with the best centre in the Association. It has been rumoured, and vehemently denied, that Bryant, in a phone conversation, made it clear that Howard would be the third scoring option in Tinseltown, firmly placed behind himself and Pau Gasol. With this apparent slight to Dwight's ability, his situation as Orlando's go-to-guy beats out the Lakers' third-man, Chris Bosh-style role, meaning that the Howard-to-Los-Angeles deal appears to be an extreme long shot. For now.
New Jersey Nets[caption id="attachment_2423" align="alignleft" width="191" caption="New Jersey C Brook Lopez looks pretty unhappy here. Maybe a shift to Orlando (and Disneyland!) will cheer him up."][/caption] Think, just for a minute, about the New Jersey Nets and the partnership Howard would have with his friend Deron Williams. Think about it. Then think of a healthy Brook Lopez as the key piece in a Nets trade offer, and Howard to New Jersey isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. Howard wants to win multiple championships, and he wants to be the go-to-guy. The Nets, should they get Dwight, would definitely become a free-agency landing spot and a genuine championship contender for the next few seasons. And whilst Williams may steal some of Dwight's thunder, Howard knows that with D-Will's playmaking ability and elite court-vision, he will still definitely be the go-to-guy.
Dallas MavericksIt's no real surprise to state that Mark Cuban would love to add two huge names to Dirk Nowitzki and form a big-three of his own in Dallas. The issue, of course, is that the players he wants are the exact same as the Nets: Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. The Mavs don't have enough to offer in a trade to land Howard, but if no deal gets done before the deadline, watch Cuban roll up his sleeves and not sleep until both Howard and Deron are in Big D.
Orlando MagicFinally, we get to the incumbents. Before you dismiss the notion that the Orlando Magic could very well end up keeping Dwight Howard, [caption id="attachment_2425" align="alignright" width="281" caption="Perhaps the arrival of Superman in New Jersey will cheer Deron up."][/caption] hear me out. Prior to the Magic's game against the Miami Heat in early February, owner Richard DeVos had the following words to say about Dwight Howard:
"You never give up. We've got a great young talent, a great young man. He's got to look at his options [and] I have to tell him what I think is best for him... I don't want to trade him."By keeping Dwight for the remainder of the year, Orlando has a chance to make the changes necessary to keep their star center and place him with dynamic players around him that would increase his desire to stay put. Maybe DeVos is just being idealistic and hoping for a dream scenario with Howard. But to him, they have a chance - albeit a long one - with Dwight Howard on their roster; without him, they have none, and ask anybody in the world — they'll take a long shot over no shot at all. At the end of the day, as the talk around Howard continues to be just that, the likelihood that he stays put increases. As more days tick by on the calendar, the likelihood increases. And as more wins continue to be chalked up on the scoresheet, the likelihood increases. Dwight may well want out of Orlando, but if he's got nowhere to go, home is as good a place as any to stay. Which, if you ask me, is exactly where we'll see him on March 15.