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Winderman: Bulls should look at Knicks before going all-in for Dwight Howard

Jan 31, 2012, 4:04 PM EDT

Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard gestures during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston Reuters

Ah, the mega-trade, the all-for-one and the hope that the one is the end-all.

As the Magic continue to stagger, and as it becomes clearer that Dwight Howard did not sign up for this, the only remaining issue seems to be how “all in” a trade partner might go.

And that, to a degree, brings us to the intersection of where we stood just over a year ago, on Feb. 22, 2011, when the Knicks simply had to have Carmelo Anthony, no matter the cost.

Even with then-GM Donnie Walsh urging restraint, Knicks owner James Dolan continued to pile on, to a degree resurrecting this season’s Nuggets while rendering the Knicks devoid of any tangible remaining assets.

What brings that deal up now is the notion being floated that the Bulls, a team exhibiting some of the best sustained chemistry in the league, just might be up for an anything-but-Derrick Rose package.

In a moment of careful-what-you-wish for, we offer a reminder of the price the Knicks paid:

Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry, a 2014 first-round draft pick, 2012 and 2013 second-round picks and cash.

In return, the Knicks received Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams.

That doesn’t mean all-in necessarily leaves a team on the outs. The contrast would be what the Clippers accomplished with the addition of Chris Paul at the cost of Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and the Timberwolves’ unprotected upcoming lottery pick.

The point being that all-for-one can work and the Bulls, with Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard and anyone, would be as good as anything in the league this side of the Heat.

But that’s the rub, they just might be that right now, anyway.

Start peeling layers from arguably the league’s best chemistry and the Bulls wouldn’t be the Bulls, at least “these” Bulls anymore.

It is one thing to unload Carlos Boozer (no one is taking), another to start pushing chips such as Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Omer Asik to the middle of the table.

The Knicks went all in last season and this season appear lost because of it.

The Clippers’ story won’t be written at least until May.

But the Bulls are ahead of both those teams already, and in cashing in for Howard could cash out on a good thing already in place.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. alldonesmith - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Warriors fan here with no axe to grind. the Carmelo trade didn’t work mostly because Carmelo is EXTREMELY overrated, and the Knicks gave up way more talent than they got back. all “Melo” can do is score, and only on volume by being a ballhog. he’s like a fat AI, but not nearly as good. pair Stoudemire with Chris Paul, Howard, DWade, LBJ, Nash, heck almost any other superstar, and suddenly the Knicks look a lot better.

    • mytthor - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      I’d argue that the Knicks have the TWO most overrated “superstars” in the league now. Stoudemire, a guy that also needs to dominate the ball and is 6’11, 260 and athletic as hell but averages less than 9 rebounds CAREER, is an injury risk? And people call Pau Gasol soft. Take away Amare’s dunks, and he’s Mareese Speights.

  2. c0mpletely0bjective - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    You cant really compare the bulls situation with the knicks. Amare and Melo are simply not good fits for each other and/or dantoni’s system. A great point guard paired up with Howard and role players would be a better team then they have now. What would the bulls have to give up? Noah/Deng plus maybe boozer and take back turkoglu and a few other pieces. If i were the bulls, i would do the trade in a heartbeat. Rose, rip, korver, brewer, turkoglu, gibson, asik, howard is a definite title contender for years to come. And the bulls might not have to give up all 3(noah, deng, boozer) as the main pieces. Maybe just 2

  3. asublimeday - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I think they called and the magic wouldn’t back off of deng. Bulls should offer boozer, Noah, and a first. If its a no, it’s a no.

    • passerby23 - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Agreed. Deng is an intricate part of the Bulls identity and a perimeter scorer they really need. Noah, Boozer, and a 1st rounder gives the Magic some decent quality to build with, while the Bulls don’t have to give up that much to get instantly better. If the Magic want more than that, the Bulls should stand pat with what they have.

    • oldhighs - Jan 31, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      I’d even throw in two first-round picks with Boozer and Noah, but you’re right on track. The Bulls are in good position, but there’s a distinct mismatch size-wise with the Heat. Maybe they can overcome that, maybe they can’t. But it would be a HUGE risk to part with all their depth as well as Deng, who is the only big man they have who can really put up points.

      Leave Boozer, Noah, and any number of first-round picks on the table. See what happens when the Magic start to realize they need to make a move or lose Howard and get nothing in return.

      • kinggw - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:58 PM

        Ill tell you what will happen, Howard will be in New Jersey or LA.

        The offer you suggest would get Paxson hung up on. Nobody wants Boozer and the Bulls first round pick might as well be a high second round pick. The pick they got from the Bobcats is lottery protected and they probably wont see it for years. If the Bulls want to compete with the other offers Orlando is going to receive, their offer has to start with Noah, Deng and Gibson.

  4. trueballs - Jan 31, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    If the Bulls lose in the ECF again they should amnesty Boozer and go in another direction. If they get Dwight without trading Boozer that leaves them with very little cap space.

  5. cluelessdufus - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    im a bulls fan so i know that geting Dwight Howard would be cool but we would possibly be giving up Deng,Noah,Boozer and mabey a couple first round picks over half are starters the bulls dont need to make any trades we finally got a good team lets keep it that way.I been watching the bulls after a couple years after Jordan left

    • rushbacker - Feb 1, 2012 at 1:44 AM

      Here’s a quarter; go buy yourself some punctuation.

  6. raiderdave - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Things will begin to unfold a bit more following the All-Star game. Otis Smith does not want Dwight Howard to be in a different uniform for a game that is played in Orlando at the Amway Center. Following the All-Star game, a bidding war should develop between the teams in contention trying to capitalize on the wide-open-anything-can-happen lockout-shortened season.

    I think the Lakers package involving Bynum is the most ready-made one for the Magic, but the Bulls can provide some very interesting pieces as well. The Nets are still the frontrunners though. Regardless, the Magic do need to do something before the time comes and they wind up with absolutely nothing in return.

    No matter what happens, the time between February 26th and March 15th should be very interesting.

    • mytthor - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      Don’t mistake this for my saying Howard isn’t better than Bynum, but trading Bynum for Howard doesn’t improve the Lakers enough. They’re probably equal on offense when they’re both at their best, Howard is the better defender and rebounder but not enough to make a difference. And he’s more consistent, but that’s offset by how much of an offensive cap playing with Kobe would put on his game. Anyone who bitches about not getting the ball doesn’t want to play with #24

      • zeedoubleyou - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:41 AM

        D12 is the most dominant defensive force in the league and it’s not even close. His presence in the paint alone makes for a top 10 D.

        Don’t believe me? Look over the Magic roster and name the 2nd best defender.

      • raiderdave - Feb 1, 2012 at 1:18 AM

        I’ve got to agree with zeedoubleyou on this one, and all the way. Howard isn’t the reigning defensive player of the year (3x) and rebounding champ (5x) for nothing. Bynum shares neither. While I agree that offensively they are close to equal (While Howard is the focal point of the Magic’s…everything), defensively Bynum does not have the body of work to even compete with Howard, and even if, the accolades Howard has speak for themselves.

        After being on a team that has only really competed for a title one time (and against the Lakers), I’m sure Howard would absolutely love it in Los Angeles. He would give them what they need, an athlete, and a very strong performer in the paint in every category. Saying a Bynum for Howard swap would not make the Lakers better is somewhat asinine. While I do like what Bynum has to offer, Howard offers much more, and with no injury history to really speak of.

        That all being said, I do think that a trade package involving Bynum offers the most ready-made package to the Orlando Magic. But who knows what the Magic will want to do. They may be a team in transition and want to go young, or they may be in contention and hang on to Howard as long as possible. As I said previously, regardless of how it’s going to play out, it’s going to be pretty damn interesting either way.

  7. dadawg77 - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    As a Bulls fan how about Boozer for Stat. Rose and Stat working the pick and roll would be fun to watch. But the knees.

    • icu84bs - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      That trade would make both teams worse. Rose seems to prefer the pick and pop (more suited to Boozers skill set) to the pick and roll anyway.

  8. mcjon22 - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    First of all, Melo’ doesn’t play defense and is selfish, Amare’s knees are shot, they were desperate to do something, and the front office has no clue what they are trying to do. In Chicago, you have a Superstar in D-Rose, a very strong and skilled coach, and a very well run front office since Gar Formen took over for Paxon. Chicago wouldn’t give up what the Knicks gave for Melo’. They would offer something like Noah, Deng, maybe a guy like Watson, and some picks. They would hang onto Taj and Omer. Plus, where else can Orlando shop him and get close value to what Chicago could offer? Bynum and Gasol for Howard sounds good BUT, Bynum has horrible knees, makes more than Noah and has maturity issues. Gasol seems to have lost a step and interest for that matter. If Orlando is serious about getting pieces back they can be competitive with and rebuild, Chicago is the go to partner.

    • armenianbasketballupdate - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      gasol played in the euro championships this summer – that has slowed all the veterans that played in the that tournament

  9. pudgalvin - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I’m torn on this, but I don’t know that Howard and Rose’s game match up that well. Just looking at it on the surface, Howard operates at his best with 10-12 feet of the basket, which shrinks the whole court. Rose is at his best when he’s cutting to the lane and Howard is going to bring a lot of attention into the lane. I’m sure they could eventually figure it out, but I just don’t know that it’s worth giving up what they’d need to. Which, despite a lot of wishful thinking here, would take Deng, Noah AND Gibson, plus the Bobcats pick and probably some Bulls picks. And in order to make the numbers work, the Bulls are taking Turkoglu back. I know we get too attached to our own players, but I just don’t know if this makes sense.

  10. borderline1988 - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Everyone has to forget about Boozer…nobody wants him so it’s wishful thinking to think he’d be the centrepiece of any trade. He can’t get off the bench in the 4th quarter and he’s getting paid a ton of money.

    I’d give Noah, Asik, Gibson, and some picks. 3 quality players. I think they’re all overrated so it works out great (all great role players off the bench, but not really quality starters – kind of like the Utah Jazz team of 4 years ago…had some great players off the bench that people were raving about, but not really starters in their own right). Noah’s limited offense really hurts any team b/c you need offense at the 4 (since the 5 rarely gives you any) and he’s not a real centre. You won’t really miss his defense b/c Howard will make up for it. Losing Gibson stings but you’re going to have to give up something that hurts to get a player like Howard.

    That keeps Rose, Hamilton, Deng, Boozer and Howard. That’s a championship core. Korver and Brewer off the bench. Maybe need a couple more role players off the bench, especially at the 4 and 5 spots, but they are easier to find than good starters.

    I love the Bulls but they simply don’t have a good enough offense to win a championship. They need more offense in the frontcourt.

  11. ultimatecardinalwarrior - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    NBA Trade Machine says Boozer and Osik work for Howard. I say pull the trigger.

    /LOL

    • ultimatecardinalwarrior - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      That’s on ESPN, btw.

  12. 1historian - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    Howard has amazing athletic ability and all that but I get some bad vibes from him as in me me me. It says here that the Bulls would be making a BIG mistake if they gave up all those pieces for him.

  13. asublimeday - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Anybody suggesting putting gibson,asik, or deng on the table wants us to become the Knicks.

    Boozer, Noah, and draft picks. Anything else and it’s not worth the trade. I’m not saying this is perfectly fair to Orlando, but it’s all I’d give up. Let’s see what happens when time starts drying up.

  14. goforthanddie - Feb 1, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Chicago has a good thing going, they don’t need to be making changes of that magnitude.

  15. glink123 - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    “their offer has to start with Noah, Deng and Gibson.”. — HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!
    You wish. Deng is untouchable on this team. Got it? They didn’t trade him for Kobe, and they will not trade him for Howard. Period.

  16. jizzojames - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    No matter who Chicago throws to Orlando, or even the Lakers (Who is clearly the better trade partner) the Magic lose. There is not player in the league right now that compares to Howard and brings what he brings to the table. If I’m Otis Smith I would go with the closest, “Farthest” player in Andrew Bynum. Bynum is the second best 5 in the league and that’s playing with Kobe and Pau. I think this time around he should be able to maintain his health and become a better player becoming the number 1 option giving him responsibility and allowing him to mateur. If the Magic are going to trade Dwight they might as well get something decent for him.

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