November 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) and power forward Reggie Evans (30) guard Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Lakers won 95-90. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz: Is Dwight Howard Really Going to Stay in LA?

It seems to be a forgone conclusion with most people; Dwight Howard isn’t going anywhere. How could he? Who can possibly turn down the bright lights of Hollywood? The beautiful people? The beaches and night life? The endorsements? No way he gives up this gig right? Well….ask yourself this question; does anyone really know what Dwight Howard wants? Including Dwight Howard? This offseason is going to present him with the biggest decision of his NBA career. Most athletes would give anything for the opportunity to play for a storied franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers and he very well may stay put. I also think that is the most likely possibility, but it’s not his only option.

The Lakers hold his bird rights so they can sign him for the most years and money. He would be the face of the franchise and they would build around him. With their name and money available to them, they would rebuild as quickly as possible to start the Dwight Howard era. The only problem is Kobe Bryant is still on the team, and there is no way the Lakers become Dwight’s team as long as Kobe is around. I know, Kobe Bryant a problem? Sounds like a problem 29 other teams would love to have. There is just so much uncertainty surrounding his recovery from injury, that the franchise has basically been put on hold. Whatever course of action they decide to take all depends on how fast Kobe can come back.

Now if you’re Dwight Howard, do you really want to sit around and wait? If Kobe’s recovery takes longer than expected, could the Lakers be looking at a repeat of this season? If anyone can come back strong it’s Kobe, but this injury is a tough one to recover from. He very well may not be the same player. The Lakers are going to have to do a pretty good sales job if they want Dwight to stick around. He has opportunities to go to a team that can build around him right now or add him to a core already in place. He has options. I’ve already mentioned the most likely being he returns to LA, but here are the other two scenarios:

1.Brooklyn Nets – It has pretty much become common knowledge that the Nets covet Dwight. It has also been long rumored that Dwight’s preferred destination is Brooklyn. He’s an East Coast guy and wants to get back to that side of the country. New York is also the only place in the league where you can make more endorsement money than LA. In order to sign him, the Nets would have to get creative to clear the necessary cap room. A daunting task, but not impossible.

2. Atlanta Hawks –  Dwight’s hometown team has enormous amounts of cash to spend this summer. In fact, they could afford to sign both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Could you imagine teaming those guys up with Al Horford? If I’m the Atlanta Hawks, I do everything to make this happen, even if it is a long shot. You may even be able to convince Josh Smith to come back at a hometown discount. Again, this is the least likely scenario, but when money talks, players listen.

So what on Earth does this have to do with the Utah Jazz? From a competitive standpoint everything, because the Lakers are our Western Conference foe. But the Jazz could have a major role in where Dwight Howard ends up playing next season. No Dwight Howard is not coming to Utah, but if the Nets need to make some deals could they be sending some players our way? Due to the cap space the Jazz have compiled this offseason they are in a great position to make some trades. The best part about it is, they can trade for a player and not have to send a player back.

Would the Jazz be interested in acquiring Brooke Lopez from the Nets so that the Nets can clear the way to signing Howard? The Jazz could absorb Lopez’s contract and only send cash considerations or a 2nd round draft pick in return. He is a legitimate 7 footer who averaged 19.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.1 bpg playing in 74 games this year with a 24.81 PER. He is only 25 years old and would fit in great with our young core. He would replace the scoring void left by Big Al and I believe would team up great with Derrick Favors down low helping him in the rim protection department. If the Nets made this offer to the Jazz, they would have to listen and ultimately take it. Deals like these are what the Jazz have put themselves in a position to make. It all depends on what Dwight Howard wants to do, and if he wants to go to Brooklyn, the Nets will do everything to get him there.

 

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Tags: NBA Free Agency Utah Jazz

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