Dwight Howard is Eyeing Either Chris Paul or Carlos Boozer | Magic Basketball

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Jun 30

Dwight Howard is Eyeing Either Chris Paul or Carlos Boozer

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Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

While those elite free agents prepare for an unmitigated frenzy set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, a certain gentle giant who’s a couple years away from any such courtship is quietly beginning to formulate a plan that he’d like management to execute. And it turns out that Dwight Howard, the most physically gifted big man in basketball, wants to team up with the most physical gifted little guy in basketball: Chris Paul.

On the eve of the most anticipated free-agent signing period since 1996, when Howard was 10 years old, the Magic center has formulated a short list of players he’d like GM Otis Smith to pursue this summer. No. 1 on the list, according to a person with close ties to Orlando management, is Hornets point guard Chris Paul. [...]

The Hornets have a point-guard-in-waiting, Darren Collison, who would mitigate the loss of Paul on the court, if not at the ticket office. Any team in the mix for Paul would have to agree to take back Emeka Okafor, scheduled to make $11.8 million next season and $53.2 million over the next for season. The last three seasons will come under a new collective bargaining agreement, in which owners are seeking to dramatically slash salaries. So the full magnitude of taking on such a contract is unknown at this point – but certainly not pleasant.

But one Western Conference executive called the scenario “plausible,” if nothing else because the Magic have shown themselves to have “deep, deep pockets,” the executive said.

To soften the blow from losing Paul, New Orleans would likely insist – and the Magic would agree – on the inclusion of Jameer Nelson in any such trade. Nelson was exposed as a liability in the Magic’s conference finals loss to the Celtics, but could bridge the gap to Collison with a cap-friendly contract that pays him $8.1 million in each of the next three seasons. The Magic have internally explored including Vince Carter in various trades they’re considering, sources say, but Carter’s $17.5 million salary next season might require a third team to get involved or force the Magic to explore another deal for him.

Another player on Howard’s short list, sources say, is Utah free agent Carlos Boozer, who would allow Howard to flourish as a defensive and rebounding force without having to handle the bulk of the scoring on the block, too. The capped-out Magic, of course, would have to acquire Boozer via a sign-and-trade arrangement. The Jazz might be enticed by Brandon Bass and free agent J.J. Redick, for starters.

12 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Jake

I'd be shocked if Anthony was traded. Likewise, I think we need to be realistic here and think about some of the options the Magic have on the table. I applaud your optimism but the same time, we need to think about players that have a shot at coming to Orlando. 'Melo isn't one of those guys. You're point about acquiring a premiere power forward is a valid one, but the Magic can do just as well by acquiring Chris Paul ... though the odds of them actually doing so are slim.

@Raptor

I think Carter can be an off-the-ball scorer -- he did just fine in the second half of the regular season in that type of role.

Raptor
Raptor

@problematic

Yeah he dissapointed me from that perspective... but he used to have the ball in his hands much more in New Jersey... his swagger and rhythm was missing because of that in Orlando (lack of ball time). He's not an off the ball scorer.

Jake
Jake

I think we need a premiere power forward to establish the Magic as repeatable NBA champion (i.e. dynasty) and compete with the changes coming in the Eastern Conf and the Lakers. The guy we need to go after is Carmelo Anthony. He wants out of Denver and the Nuggets have told him they will trade him before they let him walk as a free agent at the end of next year. He needs to sign with Denver (to get his max paycheck) and then work a trade with Orlando for several of our high dollar and rising stars. Yes we would have to give up a lot to get him, but he can bring that outside/inside scoring capability that we were hoping Carter and Lewis would bring!@Eddy Rivera

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

It's a shame that Nelson continues to get under-appreciated, yeah. The Chris Paul rumors will only fuel that notion, too.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

The only thing that keeps me from being 100% on board with acquiring Paul is the possibility of Jameer leading this team to a ring and seeing everyone eat their words. It's unreal how much credit he is owed by fans but will likely never get it.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Christian Gabriel

Paul is as much of a scoring point guard as Nelson is. When Nelson goes, so go the Magic and he's one of the few point guards in the NBA that's the ideal fit for the team. Creating these designations like "score-first" or "pass-first" and then acting as if there's a negative connotation to one of them is dumb. Point guards come in different makes and models.

By the way, Lewis was factor in the playoffs until he ran into Kevin Garnett. Vince Carter was a factor in the playoffs until he ran into himself. Don't blame Nelson for their struggles ... that's not his fault.

Christian Gabriel
Christian Gabriel

Obviously, Jameer was a great player during the playoffs. However, right now the magic do not need a score-first point guard. Sure Jameer was the most consistent player on the court in this year's playoffs, but he didn't get the team involved. Players like Lewis and carter were definitely a non-factor in the playoffs. Right now, the Magic need a pass-first point guard in Chris Paul. @Miguel

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Miguel

Why would you be disappointed that Howard wants the best point guard in the NBA? That doesn't make sense. There's no question that Nelson was the problem in the playoffs but when you get a chance to upgrade at a position with a top five player, you do it. This isn't about loyalty. It's about winning.

As for Boozer, he'd be a dubious fit with the Magic. He's an undersized power forward, he can't play defense, and he struggles against teams with length (like the Los Angeles Lakers). If push came to shove, maybe the arrangement would work but I'm skeptical.

As for Dirk Nowitzki, he isn't coming to Orlando.

I agree with Ben to an extent that the 4-out/1-in offensive philosophy isn't necessarily the issue but I'd be open to Stan Van Gundy tweaking the offense if the Magic are able to land a big-time power forward. It's bears repeating, also ... when you get a chance to acquire a top five player and the best point guard in the league, even after taking into account his injury issues, you do it. Given that the power in the Eastern Conference is going to shift dramatically, Orlando can't afford to roll with the same team as last year. One way to improve is acquiring Paul. Another way is acquiring a premiere power forward.

@Emmanuel Tirado

I would. Paul suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee ... the SAME injury that Nelson suffered this year. I think people are overreacting about the severity of Paul's injury. Paul will recover and he'll be fine. It would behoove Otis Smith to pass up on the opportunity to acquire a talent like Paul and became a favorite to win a championship next season.

@Raptor

If the Magic acquire CP3, I doubt Carter would be around.

@problematic

Yeah, Carter isn't the same player that he was several years ago. Carter has drifted further away from the basket as he's gotten older, and that's making him less effective on offense.

problematic
problematic

@Raptor
Watching Carter drive to the basket this past year proved to me that he no longer has the legs to effectively be on the receiving end of those alley-oops...not to mention those drives were so few and far between because when he did have the ball in his hands he chose to pull up for a long range shot...imho

Raptor
Raptor

Vince would be a totally different player playing with CP3... I'm telling you. He'd be great with a facilitator like Paul (like he was with Kidd in New Jersey).

I hate the fact that Orlando fans didn't had the chance to see how good Vince is because he wasn't really involved in the offense coaching-wise, in my opinion, so playing with CP3 with alley-oops and the sort would be incredible.

Emmanuel Tirado
Emmanuel Tirado

It will be a coincidence if the Magic trade Nelson and Carter (two good players) for Paul and it turns out that CP3 will remain injured for the whole time similar like it happen when Grant Hill arrives a decade ago, for me I will never gamble on a player that is recovering from a serious injury.

Miguel
Miguel

If this is true that Dwight Howard wants Chris Paul, this would feel very disappointing to me. It was obvious that throughout the Eastern Conference Finals this year that Jameer was not main the problem. Other than Howard, Jameer was the only person that showed up on a relatively consistent basis. And besides the disloyalty concerns that Dwight Howard seems to be possessing, there is a bigger problem for me.

What concerns me is the durability issues with Chris Paul concerning his knee. After all, he slowly recovering from a knee surgery-- a knee surgery that I recall Bill Simmons writing about earlier this year:

"One reason teams are so quick to allow this surgery is that the players come back so quickly, usually in a matter of weeks. But … surgeons don't repair the meniscus in most cases; they just take it out, either in part or in whole depending on the size of the tearing. That leaves the athlete with no shock. Eventually, with the remaining meniscus overstressed and aging, they end up with the bones grinding together. Yes, that's as bad as it sounds in a game of running and jumping" (Carroll, 2010).

With those injury concerns, a serious injury setback along with Paul's large contract has the potential to cripple the Magic franchise for years to come.

However, I would be more in favor of the Magic acquiring Boozer if that is the route that the Magic decided to take. It's obvious at this point that the Magic need a starter that can rebound and play and play some low post defense other than Dwight Howard.

But from reading Ben Rock's blog posts from the Orlando Pinestripe Post, it raised some concerns for me about having a conventional 4 thrown into the Magic lineup. One result would be having limited the floor space for the Dwight Howard to operate since Boozer doesn't have three point range. Also alike Ben Rock, I now have questions whether or not Rashard can guard a traditional SF.

I think a better option than boozer, is getting Dirk Nowitzski. With Dirk, you get the same ability as Rashard to hit the three, but he is big enough to adequately enough guard a power forward and get some defense rebounds to help out Dwight. But with getting Dirk you would probably have to get rid of Rashard. And with Rashard's mega contract, that would probably be a daunting task.