There has been a lot of speculation regarding both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and where they will end up in the near future. So far, the only thing that is certain is that neither of them will be with their current teams next season. While they have not necessarily demanded a trade or expressed a specific team that they would like to play for, their motives are quite clear.
For Chris Paul, there is no chance he can end up with the Knicks, unless the Hornets didn’t pay attention to what happened with the Cavaliers and LeBron James. The Hornets need to realize that CP3 is leaving no matter what and this will be their only chance to get some value for one of the best point guards in the NBA. The Knicks have nothing of value to offer the Hornets unless they are willing to part ways with Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire. The only real option for the Hornets as this point is trading him to the Lakers. The most viable option for a trade between the Hornets and Lakers would look something like this:
Hornets get: Either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom
Lakers get: Chris Paul
Regarding Dwight Howard, there have been many rumors involving multiple teams and it has become increasingly difficult to get a real sense of where he will end up. Here are three teams and trade scenarios that would have to happen for each to get the most dominant player in the NBA since Shaq.
Los Angeles Lakers:
It’s clear that the Lakers will have to choose between Chris Paul and Dwight Howard because it doesn’t seem like they have enough trade assets to acquire both of them. If they are going with the Dwight Howard route, the trade will definitely include: Andrew Bynum and then either Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom. One of the more likely deals for the Lakers would be Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom or Gasol and Ron Artest (I refuse to call him Metta World Peace) for Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.
The best option for a trade between the Lakers and Magic for Howard is:
Magic get: Andrew Bynum, either Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom and Ron Artest
Lakers get: Dwight Howard and either Hedo Turkoglu or Gilbert Arenas
It has been recently reported my multiple sources that the Bulls are the “sleeper” in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. As a Bulls fan, it’s hard not to want Dwight Howard on my team, however I do have a lot of loyalty and respect for what the organization has done to get the Bulls where they are today. Like the Lakers, any trade for Howard will involve the starting center from the other team and in the Bulls case that is Joakim Noah. As one of the biggest Noah supporters, its hard to swallow the thought of him not on the Bulls, but after watching a game with Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose on the same team, it would be pretty easy let it go. The most likely scenario for a trade between the Bulls and Lakers would be:
Magic get: Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, either Taj Gibson or Carlos Boozer and possibly Ronnie Brewer
Bulls get: Dwight Howard and either Hedo Turkoglu or Gilbert Arenas
If the Bulls do execute this trade, it would give them more cap space to work with and I think they would end up signing Caron Butler and another shooting guard, possibly Brandon Roy (if the Trail Blazers use the amnesty clause) or Jason Richardson.
New Jersey Nets:
The Nets, who have already offered the Magic a trade for Howard and potentially Turkoglu including Brook Lopez and two future first round draft picks, have the third best chance in acquiring Superman. While this proposed deal would be extremely helpful in the rebuilding process for the Magic. It also seems unlikely for New Jersey or Brooklyn, where the franchise will relocate in the near future, as a desired destination for Howard, especially with Nets’ guard Deron Williams’ contract situation in limbo. The Nets will be used as a “safety team” for the Magic, only trading him there if deals with the Lakers and Bulls fall through. The trade between the Magic and Nets would look like this:
Magic get: Brook Lopez and two future first round draft picks
Nets get: Dwight Howard
My prediction for both these players is that the Lakers will trade either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for Chris Paul giving them the true point guard they haven’t had since Magic Johnson. Their lineup would look like this
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Kobe Bryant
SF: Ron Artest
PF: Gasol (if he’s not traded) or a free agent
C: Bynum or Gasol (depending on who gets traded) or a free agent
Their bench would include Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and a bunch of first and second year players.
The Bulls roster would look like this:
PG: Derrick Rose
SG: Jason Richardson
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Carlos Boozer or Taj Gibson (depending on who is traded)
C: Dwight Howard
The Bulls bench would look like this: Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, Kurt Thomas, Keith Bogans, C.J. Watson, and Jimmy Butler
The key to the Dwight Howard trade will ultimately depend on where Chris Paul lands, because if Paul does not end up with the Lakers, it is almost a certainty that Howard will be traded to the Lakers very soon. If Paul does get traded to the Lakers, the landing spot for Howard will have even more speculation and uncertainty from here on out.
PS: Dwight Howard looks great in a Bulls jersey.