As we all know Dwight Howard will be a free agent in 2012 and recently said he will test the free agent market and look at signing with a team other then Orlando, but keep Orlando open as an option. So here are the top 10 most likely teams in the NBA to sign Howard.
Why It Makes Sense-This past decade the Lakers have been the biggest thing in professional sports since the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era. They have won more championships then any other team in professional sports and are the second largest city in the US. LA has warm weather, an ocean, and one of the flashiest club scenes in the US. Plus the if Derek Fisher opts out of his contract, the team will be roughly 25 million against the cap other wise they will be roughly 21 mill against the cap.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-This is not the Lakers of the past we are talking about, everyone in their starting line up aside from Andrew Bynum who's 13.7 million dollar contract has an eto team option after next season is over 30. This also isn't the Lakers Phil Jackson took to 7 NBA titles winning 5 of them either since Phil Jackson is now officially retired FOR GOOD. And the Lakers have not made the playoffs without Phil Jackson (even though he only took one season off when coaching the Lakers) since 1999. The Lakers star player Kobe Bryant is also being a drama queen about their new head coach Mike Brown who seems to be letting some of Phil Jackson's assistant coaches (one of which includes Jackson's right hand man in Brian Shaw) go. The Lakers also have the highest pay roll in the NBA and aren't really in a good position to contend for a championship or make a splash in free agency under the current NBA rules with big name old players like Ron "Rappin Ron" Artest and Pau Gasol locked up long term. Plus not to mention the fact that Dr. Jerry Buss (owner of the Lakers) is believed to be getting cheaper.
Bottom Line-If the Lakers want Howard they will have to pull off trading SF-Luke Walton and C-Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard along with terminating PG-Derek Fisher's contract and sliming their roster down as much as they can by terminating as many contracts as they can in the next 2 seasons. The Walton/Howard trade has already been proposed to the Magic and turned down. Plus for Dwight Howard, in 2012 it will be money vs. a nice place to play vs. a ring, but mainly money vs. a ring. If Howard chooses money over a ring he will likely become the highest paid man in all of professional sports. The Lakers are not in contention for a ring and would have to make Dwight Howard the highest paid man in professional sports long-term if they want to sign him and 25 mill won't get them that.
9.The Detroit/Stolen Pistons Who Turned All Their Fans Into Convicts
Why It Makes Sense-Recently the Pistons have been trying to trade SG/SF Richard "Rip" Hamilton and a draft pick to a team willing to buy out his contract of 12.5 million. If the Stolen Pistons who turned all their fans into convicts are successful at this and don't re-sign anyone long-term in the next 2 seasons, they will be 37 million against the cap. Detroit is the 10th largest city in the US, so I guess you could say they have a flashy club scene.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-Getting someone to take on Rip's salary is a big risk for the Pistons as is not re-signing Rodney Stuckey who is a free agent this season. Detroit is also one of the worst places to live in the US, their the second most dangerous place in the US and the most dangerous place of all 29 cities that have an NBA team and they have cold weather along with no ocean and the worst fans in professional sports. Plus there are allot of other teams such as the Pacers who could easily outbid Detroit for Dwight Howard.
Bottom Line-There are allot of big if factors involved in this situation that could make the Pistons a top 5 worst team in the NBA if they lose out on the Howard sweepstakes. Not to mention the fact that trading Rip Hamilton to be 12.5 mill against the cap in the 2012 off seasons is also a big risk that may not happen. Plus if Dwight Howard chooses Detroit it will be all about the money.
Why It Makes Sense-In 2 seasons if the Suns don't sign anyone long-term when Howard is a free agent they will be 41 million against the cap. Phoenix Arizona also has warm weather and somewhat of a flashy club scene since they are the 8th largest city in the US.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-There are still 4 teams that could have more money to spend in the 2012 off season then the Phoenix Suns on Dwight Howard. Plus Phoenix would have to give up on practically their entire team to afford Howard not to mention the fact that Phoenix Arizona doesn't have an ocean.
Bottom Line-If Dwight Howard signs with Phoenix they will have to out bid everyone and make him the highest paid man in professional sports which means not re-signing allot of big name key players such as Robin Lopez and Steve Nash.
Why It Makes Sense-By the 2012 offseason if they don't re-sign anyone the Blazers will be 40 million against the cap and it's not like they still won't have a good team by letting all their free agents go in the next 2 seasons if they sign Dwight Howard. Plus Portland Oregon does have an ocean and beaches.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-Portland Oregon is one of the smallest markets in professional sports and one of only 2 cities that accounts for their states only professional sports team not to mention the fact that they have colder weather then most cities housing an NBA team. Plus there are other teams that could outbid Portland for Dwight Howard.
Bottom Line-As mentioned earlier for Dwight Howard in the 2012 offseason it will mainly be money vs a ring and the Portland Trail Blazers can kind of give him both. But Howard would have to choose a little bit of both if he were to sign with the Blazers since the Celtics, Thunder, and Bulls are all in a good position to sign Dwight Howard and have a much better shot at an NBA title then the Blazers. Plus if Howard does sign with the Blazers he will be giving up having a flashy club scene and warm weather.
Why It Makes Sense-In the 2012 off season if the OKC Thunder don't re-sign anyone they will be roughly 11 million against the cap and currently have a lower pay roll then both the Pacers and the Blazers. In terms of getting a ring this team makes the most sense for Dwight Howard they are a good young team that doesn't really lose that much if they don't re-sign Russell Westbrook or Nate Robinson, and a few other players in 2012. Plus Dwight Howard on paper seems like the missing piece in the OKC Thunder winning an NBA championship and OKC does have warm weather.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-Oklahoma City is one of the smallest markets in the NBA and they would have to up their payroll by at least 10 million to get Dwight Howard. Plus OKC doesn't have an ocean.
Bottom Line-If Dwight Howard does sign with the Thunder it will be all about a ring over money and a flashy club scene not to mention the fact that the Thunder will have to up their payroll quite a bit to get Howard.
Why It Makes Sense-Like the Thunder the Pacers are a young team. In the 2012 off season if Dahntay Jones opts out of his contract, the Pacers will be one of only 4 NBA teams roughly 45 million under the cap in 2 seasons assuming no one is signed to a contract long-term and could be under the cap more then any other team in the NBA if you add Hibbert and AJ Prices contracts to the 45 mill making the Pacers will be 47 mill against the cap in the 2012 off season. The Pacers lack having an all star type player and need a rebounder which is where Dwight Howard comes in.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-The Pacers signing Dwight Howard could mean the team saying goodbye to Roy Hibbert and area 55. Plus Dwight Howard due to his technical foul history last season doesn't really fit the type of player mold Larry Bird likes to have on his team. Plus on top of all that the Pacers are a small market team in a city that brings cold weather, no ocean, and no flashy club scene to the table.
Bottom Line-The Pacers are in a perfect position to out bid everyone aside from the Nets if they don't re-sign Deron Williams and Celtics if they don't re-sign anyone for Dwight Howard, but if Dwight Howard does sign with Indiana it will be all about the money over everything else.
Why It Makes Sense-Chicago is the third largest city in the US that brings one of the best club scenes in the US along with great food to the table with Dwight Howard. Last season the Bulls also lost in the Lebron sweepstakes and currently have a lower payroll then the Pacers, Blazers, and Thunder. In the 2012 off season if no one is re-signed the Bulls will be 14 million under the cap not to mention the fact that next season the Bulls could offer the Magic a better trade option possibly involving Jokim Noah then the Lakers putting them even more money against the cap. The Bulls also have the 2011 MVP in Derrick Rose and came closer then any team in the Eastern Conference finals last season to beating the Heat.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-In the 2012 offseason Derrick Rose will be a restricted free agent and the Bulls re-signing Rose will be a bigger priority then signing Dwight Howard. Plus the Bulls won't have the most money to spend on Howard in 2012 and Chicago is a cold place to live with no ocean.
Bottom Line-Although the Bulls will likely be able to outbid the Thunder for Dwight Howard, they will still have to re-sign Derrick Rose before even dreaming of signing Dwight Howard. And if Dwight Howard signs with Chicago they will have to up their payroll quite a bit and he will be choosing a ring and a flashy club scene over an ocean, warm weather, and money. Plus not to mention the fact that the Bulls trading Noah and a few other players for Howard (which is much more likely to happen then the Lakers trading for Howard) will help them tremendously in signing him long term in the 2012 off season.
Why It Makes Sense-Let me start off by citing the history of the Orlando Magic. They were established as a true expansion team in 1990 (as in not a team that moved to Orlando and changed their name, those aren't expansion teams). In 1992 the Magic took C Shaquille "Shaq" O'Neal with the first overall pick out of LSU as a center piece to build their franchise around the following year they drafted SG Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway out of Memphis third overall. Then in 1994 the Magic made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history losing to the Bulls in 4 games in the first round. The following year the Magic signed F-Horace Grant from the Bulls and made the NBA finals becoming one of the fastest if not the fastest expansion team successes in sports history. 2 years later Shaq became a free agent and Grant's big contract along with wanting to get into the movie business caused him to sign with the Lakers and win 3 NBA championships from 2000-2002. In 2004 after having the worst record in the NBA for the first time since 1992, the Magic drafted C Dwight Howard with the first overall pick out of South West Atlanta Christian Academy high school as their successor to Shaq. The Magic seem to have learned their lesson since then, next season the Magic will be close to 45 million against the cap if Jameer Nelson opts out of his contract counting roughly 8 mill against the cap, have the second highest payroll in the NBA, and are in a good position to make Dwight Howard the highest paid man in the history of sports (wonder how that will go with Magic fans). Plus the city of Orlando is one hour from the beach and has warm weather year round not to mention the fact that next to Atlanta, Orlando Florida is the closest city to Dwight Howard's home city of Atlanta Georgia.
Why It Doesn't Make Since-Orlando is one of very few cities in the state of Florida without a beach and on top of all that they are a very small market considering the fact that their tallest building is Space Mountain. They don't have a flashy club scene and haven't done a very good job as of lately building a championship team around Dwight Howard wasting countless amounts of money on over priced players like Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas.
Bottom Line-If Dwight Howard re-signs with Orlando, Nelson will have to opt out of his contract and Howard will become the highest paid man in professional sports and on top of all that the team may have to up their payroll.
2.New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets
Why It Makes Sense-In 2012 the New Jersey Nets who last season had a lower payroll then the Pacers will be roughly 50 million against the cap. The Nets will move to Brooklyn and likely change their name some time in the near future giving them an even flashier club scene and a beach. The Nets also have one of the richest owners in the NBA.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-In 2012 Deron Williams who counts 14 mill against the cap and is the Nets star player who they had to give up PF-Derrick Favors the third overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft along with PG-Devin Harris, and 2 first round picks for will be a free agent. Which means the team could make signing Deron Williams a priority over Howard which could cost them Howard in free agency. The Nets also haven't made the playoffs in 5 years and bring cold weather to the table with Dwight Howard.
Bottom Line-Even if the Nets can some how re-sign Deron Williams and get Dwight Howard both players may end up being the two highest paid men in professional sports which will cause the Nets to lose valuable key players such as Brook Lopez if Dwight Howard signs with the Nets or what ever the team will be called when they move to Brooklyn, NY and he will be choosing Money, a beach, and a flashy club scene over warm weather and a ring.
Why It Makes Sense-In 2012 the Celtics will be 55 million against the cap if the don't sign or re-sign anyone to anything long-term. The Celtics have also proven they know what it takes in free agency to build a championship team with the right coach not to mention the fact that the city of Boston has an ocean. Plus the Celtics could take Kevin "KG" Garnet out of the Boston 3 Party (consisting of Ray "Sugar Ray" Allen, Paul "Truth" Pierce, and KG), re-sign Glen "Big Baby" Davis, and possibly Ray Allen for a few million more and still afford to at least come close to making Dwight Howard the highest paid man in the NBA.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense-In 2012 Ray Allen will be 36 which is the same age as Patriots ILB Teddy Bruschi was when he retired from the NFL (hints Allen could retire in 2012 and even if he doesn't may want too much money for the Celtics to afford both him and Howard). Plus we don't know if Glen "Big Baby" Davis will pick a ring over money and Glen "Doc" Rivers (current coach of the Celtics) mentioned retirement in 2010. Not to mention the fact that Boston, MA is one of the coldest weather cities in the US and doesn't really have a flashy club scene.
Bottom Line-If Doc Rivers doesn't retire in 2012 the Celtics could be in a good position to give Dwight Howard money and a ring. If Dwight Howard signs with Boston especially if Allen, Big Baby, and Rivers are back in 2013, he will be choosing money, a ring, and an ocean over a flashy club scene and warm weather. And either way you look at it if the Celtics want Dwight Howard it will mean parting ways with Kevin "KG" Garnet.