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For now, it is Paul on the market. Howard’s on deck. The New Jersey Nets will have a package of Brook Lopez and picks available for the Magic, enticing Howard with Deron Williams and a new Brooklyn arena to call his own. What’s more, the Chicago Bulls are still a sleeper for Howard, several league executives believe. “Chicago may tell Orlando to take any two players – or three – besides [Derrick] Rose,” one GM said. Howard isn’t keen on the cold weather, but the Bulls would have the best point guard-center combination since Magic and Kareem.
The Bulls have Omar Asik developing fast as a potential replacement for Joakim Noah should the Bulls include Noah in a package. Noah would have to be a part of it, but would a combination of Noah and Luol Deng or Carlos Boozer – bringing back Howard and one of those bad Orlando contracts – be enough? The Magic need a force to replace Howard, an anchor.
The answer to the question is no.
Joakim Noah and Luol Deng or Carlos Boozer don’t equate to either a force or an anchor. Excluding Noah, it equates to an aging, overpaid veteran core that would get the Orlando Magic nowhere close to winning a championship anytime soon. And even with Noah on board, he’s not a centerpiece you build around. Noah is a role player. And if the Magic choose to trade Dwight Howard, the last thing they need in return is role players.
In any case, the odds of Howard landing with the Chicago Bulls is highly unlikely. Howard is not a fan of the cold weather (which puts the New Jersey Nets in a perilous position) nor is he going to play second-fiddle to Derrick Rose. The Bulls are Rose’s team and Chicago is Rose’s city, and there’s nothing Howard could do to change that.
Howard wants to win championships, yes, and teaming up with Rose would give the Bulls a one-two punch that would probably launch them ahead of the Miami Heat as the favorites to win not only the Eastern Conference but the Larry O’Brien trophy. However, Howard wants to win on his terms — meaning that he wants to win as the head honcho. Granted, in the case of the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard would be the best player on the team but he wouldn’t be the leader. That would be Kobe Bryant. Then again, Howard would lead the Lakers into a new era but that’s another story altogether.
Clearly there are teams that are interested in Howard. This isn’t breaking news. But Orlando, and specifically general manager Otis Smith, needs to figure out what Howard wants to do.