Dwight Howard averaged a double-double for the Hawks in his first season in Atlanta. His 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game sound exciting, but at times didn’t always directly correlated with Hawks’ wins.
Then the downhill descent late in the season happened.
Howard’s rebounds per game dropped to 9.7 in the month of April and the big man started riding the bench late in playoff games so head coach Mike Budenholzer could get his desired personnel into game at the biggest moments.
News broke, after the season, that Howard was pulled over for speeding (95 MPH in a 65 MPH zone) in the early morning hours before Atlanta’s Game 6 versus Washington, a contest that turned out to be the Hawks’ final game of the season.
The last few weeks haven’t been the best for Howard from a PR point of view. And even though he still has two more years left on his three-year, $70.5 million deal, there are some that are starting to speculate about Atlanta’s willingness to part ways with its starting center.
Tony Ressler joined the Dukes & Bell Show on May 5 and said the Hawks might have to take a step back to take two steps forward.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward,” Ressler, the team owner said. “We get that. That’s part of the NBA. For anyone who thinks we’re not here to build a championship-caliber franchise has not spent time with the Hawks in the last two years.”
No one’s sure exactly what those steps might be, but Rick Kamla and John Michaels from The Midday Show have a few ideas.
Kamla and Michaels agree that the Hawks cannot go full wrecking ball. Atlanta can’t just keep Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince and ship everyone else away. Instead of full wrecking ball, what about sending away Howard via a trade?
During their show on Wednesday, the duo opined on six teams Rick & John have identified as trade partners from ESPN.com’s Trade Machine
The deal: Marvin Williams, Miles Plumlee & the 11th pick for Howard & maybe No. 19.
“I’m not crazy about Williams or Plumlee, but I’m crazy about the 11th pick,” said Kamla.
“Is [Williams] an upgrade over some of what you had? Probably. Williams is a nice bench player who could come off and play either forward spot,” said Michaels.
But you’d have a hole at the 5-spot. Michaels doesn’t like the years attached to Plumlee and Williams.
The deal: Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson & the 18th pick for Howard & 19th pick.
“Because Young is athletic enough and young enough to play in this system,” said Michaels, who likes Jefferson as a bench player who will actually put in work in the fourth quarter.
New York Knicks
The deal: Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Kyle O’Quinn & the No. 7 pick for Howard & 19
“This one’s pie in the sky,” said Kamla
For a No. 7 [pick] yes, I’d absolutely do that,” said Michaels. “I’d prefer, with the Knicks, to do [Car]Melo [Anthony] for Howard straight up.”
The Knicks would probably listen to the Anthony-Howard more than the first scenario.
The deal: Greg Monroe, Spencer Hawes & the 17th for Howard and 19.
“Greg Monroe fits in this system a little bit better,” said Michaels. “[He has] some mobility; [he’s] a guy who can cut and block some shots. Haas, he’s a big guy who can shoot outside. Coach Bud loves that.”
The deal: Wesley Matthews, Devin Harris & No. 9 for Howard and 19.
“I don’t think they would go for that,” said Michaels. “I would do it. I’ve written down my own: Matthews and Harris for Howard, straight up.”
Kamla disagreed. “We’d have to get [No.] 9,” he said. To which Michaels dissented. “Dwight, unfortunately is a value with diminishing returns right now.”
The deal: Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos and the No. 10 pick for Howard and No. 19
“I think we all agree that’s a done deal,” said Kamla
Even though Michaels believes Howard has diminishing trade value, there are teams out there who sought after the big man besides Atlanta. And even though Howard might not work in “Bud ball”… maybe he works somewhere else.
Click below to hear the entire conversation. And let us know if you have any better Howard deals than what we’ve come up with. Or even better, do you think the Hawks should trade Howard?