Up to this point, I have been very skeptical that the Nets would be able to acquire Dwight Howard. It has always been a dream of mine to see the guy who has been the most dominant Center since Shaq playing for our Nets. But I never really believed that it would happen. Until now.
Dwight has seen what LeBron did. He's seen what Carmelo did. He saw the PR fallout for both of them, and it was not good. He recognizes that he can't do what they did and realistically maintain his image.
So he's playing his cards differently. And so far, he looks brilliant.
Recently, Dwight said that he really does want to stay in Orlando, but he also wants to win and needs the Magic to improve.
But here's the catch. The Magic are in cap hell. They have 32MM annually committed to two useless player in Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. They have no room to improve, they don't have the assets, they don't have the money. So Dwight must know it's a virtual impossibility for the Magic to significantly improve.
With these comments, he is setting the stage for leaving without completely ruining his image, a la LeBron. What fan would not understand Dwight's desire to win?
Those comments finally convinced me that Dwight is on his way out. As far as I'm concerned, at this point, it's a matter of where.
Dwight has made comments saying that he wants to turn Orlando's small market into a big market. This indicates that he is interested in playing in a big market. He has also repeatedly said that he wants to win. So, presumably, those are his two big requirements.
Only a certain number of teams can offer both of those things. The Lakers, Clippers, Celtics, Heat, Bulls, and Knicks are among the few. However, the Celtics, Heat, and Knicks can be knocked off the list due to their current situations. That leaves the Lakers, Clippers, and Bulls.
I believe the Lakers' weaknesses were exposed this postseason. Kobe can no longer win games on his own, and the Lakers collapsed into an unbelievably classless fit of technical fouls in Game 4, showing that their toughness is not what it once was. Pau is soft and declining. Kobe is declining. Bynum is always hurt, and when he's healthy he isn't the difference maker he could be. The Lakers are not the best place for Dwight any more. Their championship window is fast closing.
The Clippers have Donald Sterling, a known racist and overall idiot running their team. As appealing as it may be to play beside Blake Griffin, Dwight would have no other reason to go there and live in Kobe's shadow and under the leadership of Sterling.
The Bulls were also exposed this postseason. Rose proved that he is not on the elite level just yet, and that he is still far too selfish with the ball. Their role players are not good enough yet, and neither are their trade assets.
So that leaves the Nets, who have a phenomenal point guard, the best owner in the sport, and a brand new stadium opening up in a big market soon. We have room to add more than Dwight. We fit all of Dwight's requirements. We should be where he signs.
Imagine Deron Williams and Dwight Howard together. They would be a pick and roll nightmare for opposing defenses. Howard has never had a PG like Deron, and Deron has never had a big man like Dwight. Imagine the heights they could raise each other to. They are made for each other. Deron is unbelievable and finding big men at the rim when they make their move, something Jameer Nelson isn't great at doing. This would get Dwight free points on alley-oops and easy shots, which would raise his scoring totals even higher than they already are. They couldn't foul him, because he'd be dunking as soon as he caught the ball. They would be unstoppable. With Dwight's improving post game and superior athleticism, Deron could get him 26-27 points per game to go with his outstanding defense, making him even more of an MVP candidate that he already is. Dwight can change a team defensively by himself. The Nets would be serious contenders. It's a win-win.
I believe Dwight Howard will see the light, realize the problems that all the other teams have, and sign with the New Jersey Nets. It just makes too much sense.
The Nets are no longer a joke, and Knick fans and everybody else will be waking up to that reality soon.