NBA trade rumors are suggesting that the Atlanta Hawks are desperate for a big man now that Tiago Splitter is out for the season, according to Hoops Rumors. Not wanting to waste an NBA Playoffs spot, Hawks president Mike Budenholzer is looking around the league to see if he can acquire a big man to fill out his front court. Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets just happens to be available.
The Atlanta Hawks start Paul Millsap at power forward and Al Horford at center. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer had the luxury of using Tiago Splitter off the bench to back up Millsap and Horford. Splitter was a great fit for Budenholzer because he had already understood the offensive and defensive system during his time with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, whom Budenholzer used to coach under.
With Tiago Splitter out, there aren’t a lot of options for Mike Budenholzer. Walter Tavares is only good for trash minutes at this point in his NBA career. At 245 pounds, Paul Millsap has the girth for the center position, but his 6’8″ frame might be abused by taller players. Al Horford would get the brunt of the minute at the center position, but he also likes being able to play some time at power forward.
While he’s saying all the right things about being happy with the Houston Rockets, it is no secret that Dwight Howard would enjoy a change of scenery. Things have not gone well with the Rockets since signing with them as a free agent. Howard has had to take a back seat to James Harden, who likes to dominate the ball on offense. Plus, the overall chemistry of the team has cost them their head coach, Kevin McHale, and might possibly cost them a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
Dwight Howard has reportedly already told people that he would love to be traded to the Atlanta Hawks. It’s his hometown team, and he has long yearned to play there. Whenever Howard has been available in free agency, he has always been linked to the Hawks. With the team desperately needing more size, now might be the perfect time for Mike Budenholzer to get his hands on Dwight.
If acquired, Dwight Howard would become the starting center for the Atlanta Hawks. Al Horford would more than likely shift from center to power forward. If he’s not the one being sent to the Houston Rockets to make the trade possible, then Paul Millsap would shift down from power forward to small forward. Millsap and Horford both have range, so it allows the non traditional lineup to work for Atlanta.
While Dwight Howard would absolutely love to play in his hometown, Al Horford would be the one that’s most pleased with this arrangement. He has long yearned to become a power forward in the NBA. Playing center was just something that was done out of necessity. With Howard around, Horford would not have to defend the bigger bruisers in the league, which would preserve his energy to focus more on the offensive side of the ball.
Paul Millsap might not be happy that he’s going to be chasing around quicker perimeter players on defense, but there’s still some advantages for him. Mike Budenholzer can switch to a zone defense if Millsap is struggling on defense. The Atlanta Hawks have enough chemistry to pull that off. Plus, Millsap can also use his size against those very same players, which might end up being a major advantage.
[Featured Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]