OKC Thunder: Dwight Howard joining Thunder would cripple team in long term
Adding the NBA's top center would probably be just for one year. And OKC would probably need to give Orlando a combination of players such as James Harden, Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor.
It's a trade so intriguing that not even its implausibleness can slow the speculation.
As NBA deals go, Dwight Howard to the Oklahoma City Thunder is as far-fetched as it gets.
Photoview all photos
NewsOK Related Articles
But as long as Howard remains in limbo, or until the Thunder completes its complex payroll puzzle, there will be a convenient rationale for linking Orlando and Oklahoma City in the never-ending Dwight derby.
Some media members already have floated the idea, and at least one outlet recently erroneously reported that the teams were in talks to send the league's best center to OKC. Fans have clamored for the deal for far longer.
All the conjecture, however, fails to acknowledge one substantial fact — Howard doesn't want to play here.
That's not an indictment on Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have hushed the haters who said this city couldn't and wouldn't retain star players. Howard simply has his sight set on two locations. Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
Dallas is a last-ditch option.
But the big man wants to play in a big market, and he's driving the bus to his preferred destination a year ahead of free agency like Chris Paul and Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony did before him.
Howard holds all the leverage because he can hold all other franchises hostage. His camp has made it clear that he will only re-sign with the Nets or Lakers if traded. Every other team would be trading for nothing more than a one-year rental.
That puts the Thunder in the same boat as 27 other teams, all of which would love to have Howard but fully understand how futile a pursuit would be.
In the case of Oklahoma City, the Thunder would have to forfeit some mix of James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Eric Maynor just to get Howard for one year. In essence, the Thunder would be gutting its team for a player who has no interest in staying beyond next season. Oklahoma City would then be left with Durant and Westbrook and no salary cap space to sign anyone of substance. A return to mediocrity also would be quite likely, which would prevent the Thunder from securing high draft picks with which to surround Durant and Westbrook.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
- 12097Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 11309Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 6870Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 6485Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 4833Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 4317OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M
- 3653Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law