Atlanta Hawks: Trade Target #1 – Dwight Howard


With the NBA’s trading deadline approaching quickly, February 18th to be exact, Soaring Down South has decided to profile players that have been rumored to be available that could fit a need for the Atlanta Hawks as they try and get back to their second straight Eastern Conference Finals.

Much to the chagrin of most fans, last year’s trade deadline came and went with the Hawks failing to make a move to improve their roster.  A season ago, the Hawks sat at the top of the Eastern Conference and were clicking on all cylinders so it did make a little bit of sense to stand pat at the deadline.  This season is a completely different story as this team isn’t playing at the same level.  The Hawks are a team that needs to make a move to be taken seriously in what is becoming a extremely competitive Eastern Conference.

Over the next month, SDS will take a look at some potential players that could be had via trade.  We will look at what it might take for the Hawks to acquire said player, if it works from a salary cap perspective and how the addition would improve the team.

Trade Target #1 – Dwight Howard

There have been grumblings about Dwight Howard wanting out of Houston.  Apparently he doesn’t like playing second fiddle to James Harden and doesn’t like his role in the offense.  And I know what you are thinking…what else is new?  Well, nothing really except for the fact that Howard could find himself on the move again at the trading deadline.  Our friends over at Hoops Habit wrote about five potential destinations for Howard last week.  The Hawks weren’t on that list, but I believe that they could get into the mix if they wanted to and facilitate a deal that could work for all teams involved.

Now, before Hawks’ fans decide to come after me with pitchforks for trading away two franchise cornerstones, let’s analyze the deal from all angles.

Atlanta Hawks

No team ever wants to get rid of two fan favorites.  I understand that as much as anyone, but let’s face it, the Hawks are never going to win anything as long as they are the worst rebounding team in the league.  And that is what they are currently.  Not one of the worst, but THE worst team in the league as it pertains to rebounding.

Al Horford has seen his rebounding drop off since he came into the league.  Currently he has a career worst 12.6 total rebounding percentage and has essentially become a stretch four.  His increase ability to stretch the floor has compounded the Hawks inability to rebound the ball as he isn’t in the paint nearly as much.  The addition of Howard would be a huge help to the Hawks on the glass as he is still one of the better rebounders in the league when on the floor.  Not to mention, he would be a huge draw from a ticket sales perspective.  With Horford headed for a huge pay day in free agency, the Hawks would be wise to gauge the interest in his services as I don’t believe they will want to pay the kind of price tag he will command.  Howard is due $22M next season on a player option and a deal like this would only work if he exercises that option.

More from Hawks News

Dennis Schroder, while no Jeff Teague, is a capable point guard in this league and a guy that will be a starter one day.  If I’m able to swing a deal that includes Howard coming to Atlanta then I would easily give up Teague to do so.  Not necessarily because I don’t like/want Teague on the roster, but the signs of a potential decline are there.  He’s not the same player that he was a season ago.  Whether that has to do with injuries or age, I don’t believe he will get back to the level he played at last year and with his contract running out after next season, the Hawks would be wise to kick the tires on moving him.  Adding a guy like Grant, who would be a solid backup at this point in his career helps lessen the blow of losing Teague.

Dec 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) talks with an official after a play during the second quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) talks with an official after a play during the second quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks

The Knicks need a PG, badly.  Porzingis has been every bit as good as advertised.  He and Carmelo have developed good chemistry in just a few months of playing together and the right point guard could really help this Knicks’ team get back to the playoffs.  Enter Jeff Teague.  A starting lineup of Teague, Afflalo, Melo, Porzingis and Lopez would be a tough out come playoff time.  Teague would be an automatic upgrade over anything the Knicks currently have and has the type of personality that would mesh well with a guy like Carmelo.

The Knicks would send Calderon to the Rockets to clear a spot for Teague and would give up promising young PG Jerian Grant as he would make his way to Atlanta.  The Knicks aren’t in rebuild mode as they made deals this offseason to keep them in contention now, while allowing their young guys to develop.  Porzingis has definitely done that and with the addition of Teague, they could lose out on a young guy like Grant and it not hurt what they are trying to do.

Houston Rockets

I fully believe that the Rockets will move Ty Lawson at the deadline or find a way to buy him out.  He has been a bust in Houston from Day 1 and they are in need of a backup PG.  Calderon would fit that role and would slide in right behind Beverly as the team’s backup point.  He’s a pass first type of PG who would really benefit from playing next to James Harden for stretches.

Al Horford would slide over to the PF spot for the Rockets as they have Clint Capela who has played extremely well this season to man the paint.  The Rockets tried to bring in Chris Bosh two summers ago before he opted to stay in South Beach.  A Howard-Bosh tandem would have been deadly, but at this point, Houston fans would be just as happy seeing a Capela-Horford tandem alongside Harden, Ariza and company.  They rid themselves of a guy who has been rumored to be disgruntled and clear up cap space this summer so that they can go out and retool.  Or give big money to a guy like Horford if he and Harden co-exist like I think they can.  Either way, Howard’s days in Houston seem to be numbered and bringing in guys like Horford and Calderon could give the Rockets just what they need to make a run this season before they try and figure out which way to go next season.

Note: There would likely be a draft pick or two involved to get this deal done but trying to figure out which second round draft picks could/would swap hands is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Next: Mid-Season Awards: Atlanta Hawks

Visit for the latest Atlanta Hawks news and analysis.