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Report: Lakers have “dropped” on Dwight Howard’s list

May 28, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v New York Knicks AP

First off, if you’re a Magic fan, stop reading this. You’re only going to get frustrated and angry that the big mean media is once again making up stories about Dwight Howard when he clearly wants to re-sign in Orlando. After all, he said he loves the city! And who says that and then leaves? So you should just stop and go check out instead. You’ll be happier and I won’t have to feel like a heel for pushing material that clearly could not be more untrue to you which will only worry you. So long, Magic fans!

(They gone? Okay, back to reality.)

It really is possible Howard stays in Orlando, I wasn’t just making that up. The guy’s been there a long time, the Magic have always been aggressive in trying to build around him, and a possible franchise tag could lock him up against his will. But the noise out of Howard’s camp isn’t fabricated, despite what Magic fans may want to believe, and there’s enough of it to buy into the idea there’s something going on, especially when combined with what we know of his personality and branding, which, let’s be honest, portrays an image of  a guy who wouldn’t marry the camera, but might give it a promise ring.

The big assumption has been that the Lakers with all their flashbulb opportunities would be where Howard lands, but ESPN’s Ric Bucher said in a chat Friday that doesn’t look like the case at the moment.

Lakers have slipped on Dwight’s list for reasons beyond (Bynum being “untouchable”). I’d rank his preferences in this order: Orlando, Dallas, NJ, Lakers. But for Orlando to keep him, they’re going to have to make some serious deals, ones that I’m really doubtful they can pull off.

via Chat: Chat with Ric Bucher – SportsNation – ESPN.

That second city on the list is going to raise some eyebrows. The Mavericks will have expiring contracts, young talent, draft picks (they’re one of the few teams who haven’t completely mortgaged their long-term prospects to improve), and a market big enough to contain Howard’s ego while putting him next to a Hall of Famer. Obviously how the Mavericks fair in the Finals might affect this decision but that’s an intriguing prospect. The Nets remain an option with Brooklyn on the horizon, despite their continual “Knick-ing” of themselves (defined as “removing all long-term prospects and assets in a fruitless pursuit of immediate and significant improvement”).

The hometown team is still first, just like Toronto and Cleveland were still first on the other’s lists. Dwight’s not either of those players, but he’s also experienced just as much frustration. Derrick Rose winning the MVP over him despite Howard’s very arguable superior season, in a landslide, has to make Howard wonder where the lack of respect is coming from and what role markets played into it.

Howard staying would be the best thing for everyone. He would have an opportunity to man up and be the guy for the franchise, Orlando wouldn’t lose yet another superstar to brighter lights of a bigger city, the tied would be stemmed on the mass migration of stars to the five top markets, and Otis Smith would still have a job. And it could happen.

It just doesn’t feel like it.

  1. goforthanddie - May 28, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Playing w/ Kobe sounds great, until you realize how broken Kobe is. And take Kobe out of the equation, LA isn’t that attractive a team.

    • wordplaydiz - May 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      LA not so attractive a team? Kobe will never be “out of it”, even if he’s not playing. This franchise makes stars and keeps their flags flying. Dr. Buss started with nothing, and every decision he’s ever made has paid off. This team will continue to transform, re-group and dazzle. Just my take from where I’m sitting.

  2. coltsfanindc - May 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    so chicago isnt in the equation anymore?

    • goldkj - May 28, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      As a Bulls fan, my loins get warm at the idea.

      • bittersonicsfan - May 29, 2011 at 1:56 AM

        The Bulls need Dwight. Someone to pick up after Rose’s inconsistent shooting.

    • brtdud7 - May 28, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      I have to say I was surprised to see them not even on the list. I honestly thought they would be the #2 or #3 team.

      I mean, they can offer Noah, a young big guy in Asik/Gibson, maybe a bench player or 2, and 3 first round picks right? And Howard could at least partially cover for Boozer’s lack of defense?

      Then if they can trade/sign a real SG (maybe Mayo?) and have a starting lineup of Rose/Deng/SG/Boozer/Howard I think they could easily beat the Heat

    • steelyres211 - May 28, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      Only if they can find someone that will take Boozer off of their hands, and I don’t think Orlando wants him.

    • purdueman - May 29, 2011 at 1:25 AM

      You have to look at it from Howard’s perspective right now. I’m sure that Howard thinks that Chicago doesn’t need a center because they have Noah tied up to a long term contract extension, but I don’t think that Noah is untouchable like Jim Buss has said that Bynum is if the package coming back in return includes Howard.

      By all reports, Mark Cuban is going to commit big bucks to a contract extension for Tyson Chandler; that would rule out making a big run at Howard, and Dallas has a much bigger need in finding a player to replace Bibby at point guard.

      New Jersey? Why would ANYONE actually want to go to the cesspool that is Newark, NJ? Yes, the plans to move to Brooklyn are apparently still in place, but until a new arena is actually built there, that’s all they are… plans.

      If Howard doesn’t like being the second banana in Florida, why would he want to wind up right back in the same spot to Mello, Amarie and the Knicks in New York. I’ve been to both the Garden and to Brooklyn and trust me, while Brooklyn may be a borough in New York City, it AIN’T New York City any more than Sacramento (which is only a 2 hour drive), is San Francisco.

      Of all the big market contending teams, the Bulls hands down have the most to offer for Howard. The only question in my mind is if Howard is bearing a lot of resentment towards Rose over this years MVP selection.

      The Lakers though are out not only because their President (Jim Buss), has labeled Bynum as “untouchable”, but also because it’s clear that their window with their current aging roster and lack of high present and near term lottery draft picks would make that a bad career move for Howard IMO. Hiring Brown as their head coach certainly doesn’t make them any more of an attractive place to go either.

      • dunkmaster912 - May 29, 2011 at 5:13 PM

        since when does bibby play for the mavs?

      • almzor - May 31, 2011 at 6:14 PM

        You mean Kidd? That you can confuse Kidd and Bibby is worrisome.

        I can guarantee that Cuban would jump at Howard, the same way he salivated at the thought of snagging one of the premier free agents of last summer. Chandler has done wonders for the Mavs but Howard is a clear upgrade, and Cuban is a businessman. He won’t turn down a chance to improve even if he does give Chandler an extension. After all, Chandler with a longterm extension is not all that different in trade talks than Noah, and according to your reasoning Noah isn’t keeping Chicago out of the mix.

        As for NJ, Howard has repeatedly said he wants a team to be ‘his’ and Derron isn’t charismatic enough to stop Howard from making the Nets his team. Also, a team with Howard and Williams on it trumps a mello/amare team for on court performance. Off court publicity and drama? The Knicks can take that, Howard is more interested in a functional team than theatrics.

  3. jolink653 - May 28, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    he wouldn’t want to go to the knicks why? he would play with amare n carmelo while allowing amare to switch back to the 4 where he’s most comfortable n make the team a perennial eastern conference finals team…he wants to go to the declining lakers n the crappy nets? would be a pretty awful career move for him

    • hungrybear22 - May 28, 2011 at 5:49 PM

      New York has worse defense than Orlando this season, why would he want to go somewhere where he has to clean up even more defensive mistakes by his teammates.

  4. rreducla1 - May 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    The big assumption has been that the Lakers with all their flashbulb opportunities would be where Howard lands, but ESPN’s Ric Bucher said in a chat Friday that doesn’t look like the case at the moment.


    Like most of what Moore writes about the Lakers, this is based on angry little voices in his head. JA Adande, for example, reported that he was told several different things about where Howard wants to go by several different sources. There has been spec about Howard to LA, Howard to NJ/BKN, Howard to Chicago, Howard to Dallas, Howard to New York, and about Howard staying in Orlando if the Magic can bring in Chris Paul. There has been no definitive report saying what Howard wants to do nor any quotes from Howard himself on the subject.

    Also, there have been several reports the last few days saying that Jim Buss has said Bynum is “untouchable” which triggered Bucher’s answer in chat. Bucher gave no specifics as to why LA is now “down the list.”

    As to the first post talking about Kobe being “broken” scaring Howard off of LA, seems unlikely. More likely, if Bucher’s info is accurate, it is the Jim Buss/Brown regime taking over and the hard cap that seems to be coming.

  5. supermattbjorke - May 28, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    dwight howard is defense if you dont think he could chance the knicks D in one season you my friend are dumb. But either way he isnt going to new york or La. Dwight should deff ponder going to jersey. But in all reality he seems like the type to stay with one franchise till he gets sick of losing in the playoffs.

  6. dbick - May 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Dwight should come to philly. Instant Eastern Conference contender with him on the squad.

  7. Reggie's Bush - May 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Ummm perdueman I LIVE in NY and I must say Brooklyn IS New York as much as Queens, Bronx and Manhattan.

    Carry on.

  8. crazyguy358 - May 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    i would say it be good for dwight to go to l.a. or chicago and i would hope chris paul go to mew york thats all

  9. ocgunslinger - Jul 31, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    All great teams have great ownership and management. The Lakers have always had the luxury of being able to create some dynasties with changing chemistry in players and coaches. Now with the change in management with the Lakers it remains to be seen if that same chemistry will continue. Baylor, West, Wilt, Kareem, Magic, Shack,& Kobe. Will it continue with Howard or Bynum or do they become another 500 team?

  10. robolundgren - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:52 AM


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