NBA trade rumors are suggesting that the Charlotte Hornets are going to be making moves before the deadline on Thursday so that they can fend off the Detroit Pistons and hold on to that eight playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference. Right now, the Hornets have eyes on Dwight Howard, according to Hoops Rumors. Landing an All-Star center could really make Charlotte a more viable contender.
For much of the season, the Charlotte Hornets were feeling very good about their team’s chances of making the NBA Playoffs. Then, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went down for the season with a torn labrum, which will require surgery to repair. That took the sail out of the entire Hornets organization. However, Charlotte wasn’t going to wave the white flag on the season, as evident by their push this week to reload the roster.
To resolve the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist situation, the Charlotte Hornets pulled off a trade with the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies. For the price of Brian Roberts, former first round pick PJ Hairston and two second round draft choices, the Hornets were able to land a band aid in Courtney Lee. He’s a solid veteran that plays exceptional defense. Lee is no Kidd-Gilchrist, but he’s better than the other options.
While the Courtney Lee trade was designed to patch a hole, Charlotte Hornets general manager Rich Cho wanted to make a much bigger splash. At 6’11”, 260 pounds, Dwight Howard can make a pretty big splash for an NBA team. While he has declined a little, Howard is still among the best centers in the league. Dwight can put up a good amount of points, grab a ton of rebounds, and protect the basket by blocking shots.
If acquired, Dwight Howard would immediately be the starting center for the Charlotte Hornets. Cody Zeller would then become the first big man off the bench. Zeller averaged 24.8 minutes, 8.8 points, and 6.2 rebounds, which are respectable numbers in the NBA. Howard, of course, would provide an immediate upgrade. Dwight might even be able to double the scoring average that Charlotte was getting from Zeller.
Right now, Dwight Howard is averaging 14.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks a game for the Houston Rockets. His scoring average is a bit lower than usual, but that’s mainly because the Rockets offense is so centered around James Harden. “The Beard” has a tendency to dominate the ball when he is on offense. That helps him put up big numbers, but it reduces the value of his teammates.
Starting next to Dwight Howard would be Marvin Williams, a once disappointing high NBA draft pick. The former North Carolina Tar Heels star has now transformed into a solid veteran contributor. Williams is also a stretch forward, which means that he can help provide more space in the paint for Howard to break down his opponent in the low post. That’s something that Dwight has always needed.
Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Courtney Lee, Marvin Williams, and Dwight Howard might not necessarily be a team that you would bet the farm on to win the NBA Championship this season. However, they will be a competitive bunch that might even be able to pull off a first-round upset, provided they don’t play LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The unit might be good enough to inspire the fans to keep believing and purchasing tickets, something that Hornets owner Michael Jordan would love to see.
Dwight Howard is on the move again.
[Featured Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]