According to people I’ve talked to on both sides, the Atlanta Hawks aren’t just one of the teams calling GM Otis Smith about Dwight Howard…they are the most likely destination for the Orlando Magic center (if the team decides to trade him at all).
All season, I’ve been surprised that Atlanta hasn’t been mentioned more prominently as a destination for Howard. I know that he hasn’t formally said they’re on his list of preferred teams nor has he mentioned a desire to return home…but all the teams in the hunt have said that they would trade for Dwight regardless of a long-term commitment from him. People around the superstar ‘bigman’ say that he may even pick up his option for next year, just as Chris Paul did upon his arrival in L.A.
On another note, All-Star snub Josh Smith is reportedly still seeking a trade out of the ATL. He’s a player that carries a lot of value around the league and isn’t making ridiculous money. Could the Hawks exchange one hometown hero for another?
The Atlanta Hawks receive Dwight Howard (17.8M) and Hedo Turkoglu (10.6M).
The Orlando Magic receive: Josh Smith (12.4), Al Horford (12M), Jeff Teague (1.6)M, Vladimir Radmanovic (1.3M), and Jason Collins (1.3M).
For Dwight Howard, this move allows him to play with another star player, something he desperately wants. Some think Joe isn’t what he used to be, but scoring-wise he’s still a top ten player. Plus, Johnson would give up the “#1 spot” on the team to Dwight, something Kobe Bryant reportedly wasn’t going to do (which ended the Laker rumors last month). Howard needs a bona fide scorer on the perimeter to be at his best. He’s not a traditional center that you just throw the ball to in the post and feed off of. Dwight would thrive off of the attention Joe gets on the perimeter. Orlando was at their best years ago when Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu were aggressive, confident players (a distant memory today). Lastly, Dwight would be returning home…something I’m sure he’d quietly relish.
For the Atlanta Hawks, they would have one of the better 1-2 punches in the league with Howard joining Joe Johnson. Okay, so Joe isn’t the best passer on the perimeter but the duo would be a nightmare matchup. Plus, their personalities would fit well. Dwight’s playfulness and charisma would be a great balance to Johnson’s chill and somewhat boring demeanor (has he smiled yet this season?). Okay, so the Hawks would still have to piece together the PG and PF spots following this trade, but Kirk Hinrich and Zaza Pachulia have proven to be reliable starters in the NBA. The team can also go with Marvin Williams at the ’4′ to create space for Dwight (a la Ryan Anderson).
The Orlando Magic, meanwhile, get practically an entire new lineup for Howard. They also get to shed the contract of Turkoglu (Otis Smith cheering). They’d have an All-Star frontline in Horford (when he returns from injury) and Smith, while also adding a young PG in Teague who is just starting to realize his star potential. Josh Smith would be the gem of this trade. He’d finally have a chance to shine on a new team and away from the ball-holding Joe Johnson. His numbers would skyrocket across the board and he’d finally be recognized as an All-Star in this league.
The next step for Orlando would be to move Jameer Nelson, but that’s for another blog. Lastly, the best part of this trade, Otis Smith can once again sleep at night…and so can Stan Van Gundy.
Actually, with this saga over, I think all of us would sleep better at night.
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