Discussion

Trade fits for Howard, Paul, Williams

A look at the best potential landing places for these three stars, if they get traded

Originally Published: June 29, 2011
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. In this case, however, it's not a straight debate. Given all the discussion about the impending free agency of these players after next season, we simply asked Ric and Chris where the players would fit best if they were traded this coming season. It's not a prediction, just a discussion.

Question: If Dwight Howard is traded this season, which team is the best fit for him?

BUCHER: I argued this earlier in the year and I believe it still holds true: If Howard is going to leave Orlando, the New Jersey Nets are the best team for him to join because he can put an indelible stamp on that franchise simply by:

A. Choosing them over gaudier destinations and,

B. Winning a single championship.

(I'm only considering teams in which I know he's interested, thereby eliminating the Bulls and Celtics and Thunder. The choices are the Nets, Knicks, Mavericks and Lakers.) Going to the Mavericks now is a bit like LeBron going to the Miami Heat -- no matter what he does, he'll be viewed as a bandwagon jumper of sorts. Going to the Lakers means winning, minimum, three titles to stand among the franchise's previous great big men, the Shaquille O'Neals and Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, and I don't see Kobe Bryant lasting long enough to pull that off. And without Kobe, there is no championship-caliber closer in purple and gold. If Howard went to the Knicks, Amare Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony would have to go to Orlando. Amare-Dwight is a bad fit, and while from a basketball standpoint Melo-DH could work, I don't see a leader. Dwight can have the limelight in New Jersey and be the court jester when it strikes him while Deron Williams sets the pace and provides the proper attitude.

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