On Saturday, Dwight Howard publicly confirmed that he has told the Orlando Magic he would like to be traded. His request included his number one preference, the New Jersey Nets, followed by preferred alternatives: the L.A. Lakers and Dallas Mavericks according to ESPN Insider’s Ryan Corzza.
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Despite Howard’s list of preferred landing spots, the Magic still hold the cards and will ultimately decide Howard’s fate this season. GM Otis Smith will reportedly “look at all 29 teams” if the Magic do indeed decide to deal their franchise center.
Bulls GM Gar Forman on Sunday: “We love the makeup and character of this team and the chemistry we have. With that said, we’re still exploring ways to improve.”
From the Chicago Tribune’s Bulls reporter K.C. Johnson: “Sources said the Bulls, who can build a package around cap relief, young talent and attractive draft picks, will enter trade talks.”
From ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell: “Bulls, believe they have enough young pieces to complete a trade for the perennial All-Star. They will have conversations in the coming days with Magic GM Otis Smith about putting together a package for the talented big man, according to a league source.”
Johnson also wrote in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune: “A confidant of Howard’s expressed hesitation he would sign a long-term extension with a team beyond his preferred destinations.”
Dwight Howard to Chicago is a risk, as the League’s best big man might sign elsewhere at season’s end, leaving the team’s roster much less potent. However, it’s very difficult to see Howard, after spending an entire season in “The Windy City,” wanting to sign anywhere else.
There are however, several reasons why the 3-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year would figure to have a difficult time leaving.
The Bulls are a first class, winning organization led by VP of Basketball Operations, John Paxson, and are arguably the best sports city in the continental United States. The team is coached by reigning Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, a defensive genius whose keep-everybody-involved motion offense fits his team like a glove. Thibs would schematically make Howard feel right at home at the United Center. 2010-2011 League MVP Derrick Rose, who leads a team consisting only of team-first role players, would figure to gladly share the spotlight with D-12’s larger than life personality. D-Rose’s friendship developed with Howard while they toured China for Adidas also can’t hurt.
Howard walking at the end of the year is an important consideration for any potential Bulls trade, as Chicago could be left with only cap space to show for sending an important part of the current teams’ nucleus for what would amount to a one year Rent-a-Center.
If the Bulls offer what the Magic deem to be the best trade package, the Bulls, the City, and its fans should be enough to keep Dwight in red for a long time.
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