Whether it be in Orlando, New York or New Orleans the chance of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul ending up on the same team remains slim. Both are to be free agents after the 2011-12 season, Paul if he chooses to exercise an opt-out clause. Some writers speculate as to where they will end up.
Dwight seems destined for either Los Angeles gold, or Brooklyn blue. Chris seems to be Broadway bound or even Los Angeles Clippered.
Though the prospect of these two players, on the same team remains a possibility it still seems like it’s not going to happen. To think that these two guys could be talking about tagging up would not surprise me in the least. Both Paul and Howard watched as their close friends Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up in Miami so to think they aren’t talking about it themselves seems a little naive.
These guys want to win and what better way than to team up together.
So, if such a possibility were to be on the cards, where would, or rather could they be heading?
My choices are narrowed down to three, but between now and the next free-agency period teams can clear out cap room, become more viable options as well as the CBA affecting things drastically.
- Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic present a team that could quite easily hire both of these guys as employees. Dwight hasn’t really done himself any favours by jumping back and forth between declaring his loyalty to Orlando, then saying he wants to be a free-agent. Though, with all of that drama behind us I could see Howard pulling a “Dwayne Wade” of sorts by entering free-agency but then recruiting the talent.
The question lies in whether it’s at all possible. The Magic have a horrible cap situation and have a horrible roster all around (except for some quality bench players). If Dwight is to persuade Paul to join him the Magic front office is going to have to shed salary and get cheap, talented role players.
- Boston Celtics
I know right? You didn’t think I’d include the Celtics on the list, but here they are. Let me explain why they’re here. Boston’s golden era is coming to a close, slowly. I’m not saying they won’t be able to compete in the upcoming season, but I do think they need to do-over and what better way than trying to get Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.
Rajon Rondo could be used as trade bait if a sign-and-trade is still possible under a new-CBA. And I’m sure the Celtics could shed the salary necessary to pull of this coup. Keep an eye on them.
- Los Angeles Lakers
This to me, is very similar to the Celtics situation. We all know that the Lakers have the front-office bravado to pull off a big move. Getting both Paul and Howard on their roster looks amazingly difficult. They would have to get rid of Kobe’s immovable salary, Odom’s, Fisher’s and all the rest. A lot of Laker fans talk about their trade chips, but outside of Bynum they really have none. No young talent and no draft picks (that will be high).
- New Orleans Hornets
This wouldn’t be a Hornets blog without a little false optimism. New Orleans is going through a transition period. Their second best player, David West, is looking for a sizable contract in free-agency. Carl Landry also looks outbound despite showing terrific value off the bench. The Hornets have a lot of cap-space, but that’s in large part because they only have 6 players on the roster.
The thing about New Orleans though is that if they’re smart with their money, resign West for a reasonable deal, go out and get a scoring-two guard and still have room to sign another max contract, then I think Dwight Howard could at least be enticed by the possibility of teaming up with Paul.
Okay, enough of that.
At the end of the day I still believe that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard playing on the same team is about as likely as the British Empire resurfacing to dominate the planet. With the CBA looking to be restructured and restrictive there aren’t very many options out there for a two-player powerhouse to exist.
The Knicks, Nets, Lakers and Clippers will all be going after Paul and Howard, but not both. Both guys want their contracts so don’t expect to see them wearing the same jersey outside of the Olympics.