NBA Trade Rumors: Dwight Howard Could Be Traded To New Orleans Pelicans, Freeing Anthony Davis To Once Again Stretch The Floor

The NBA trade rumors surrounding the Atlanta Hawks are heating up with a new report that Dwight Howard could already be on the trade block and potentially headed to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Hawks just landed the big man and Atlanta native this offseason, but it appears the team’s front office is ready to end the Dwight Howard era and build toward the future. After rumors that other big names, including Paul Millsap, were on the trading block, the new reports indicate that it might be Howard on his way out of Atlanta.

CBS Sports filled in some of the blanks on the latest NBA trade rumor, reporting that the Atlanta Hawks are ready to follow up their trade of Kyle Korver with some other big deals. The report noted that the Hawks were in discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans for a Howard trade, although it’s not clear just how serious those discussions are right now.

NBA Trade Rumors: Dwight Howard Could Be Traded To New Orleans Pelicans, Freeing Anthony Davis To Once Again Stretch The Floor

ESPN’s Zach Lowe noted that the two teams were in the early phases, and there was some hesitation on the part of the New Orleans Pelicans when it came to pulling the trigger.

“But they haven’t committed to staying small, and sticking [Anthony] Davis at center. They worry about the physical toll it would take, and fretted after Davis picked up two quick fouls jostling with Dwight Howard two weeks ago. In the days that followed, Atlanta and New Orleans had exploratory talks about possible Howard trades before the Hawks pulled everyone off the market, according to several league sources. It is unclear how interested New Orleans was, and there was not unanimous support within the team for acquiring Howard.”

CBS Sports noted that there could still be some hope to this NBA trade rumor. The Pelicans are in a bit of a pickle when it comes to their frontcourt, with Anthony Davis forced to play center due to the struggles of Omer Asik. Davis has excelled at the position, the report noted, but the team is wary of the pounding the smaller-framed Davis is taking playing against bigger players. It’s not seen as a long-term solution, and Howard’s arrival could free up Davis to once again stretch the floor.

Dwight Howard could soon be traded, new rumors indicate.

And even if the NBA trade rumors between the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans don’t end up going anywhere, the fact that Dwight Howard’s name is even being included in trade talks is a sign in itself, the SB Nation blog Peachtree Hoops noted.

Atlanta already showed a willingness to put a cap on this season and start to build for the future when Paul Millsap was on the trade block. Even though he’s since been pulled off, the Hawks could still be inclined toward a rebuild, the report noted.

“It is important to note that the seriousness of these talks is unclear and that Atlanta’s position to compete this season remains visible with the addition of Mike Dunleavy to the rotation and Gary Neal on a 10-day contract. Still, the mere notion that Howard might have been available in trade is noteworthy and this is simply to keep an eye on if the team’s play declines in the month before the trade deadline.”

That could make the coming weeks very interesting, not only for the Atlanta Hawks but for other teams that could be interested in landing Dwight Howard. The Hawks currently sit in fourth place in a tightly packed Eastern Conference, so if they keep winning, it’s unlikely the team will make any big moves. But as the report noted, if the Hawks stumble, it could kick the NBA trade rumors into high gear once again.

[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]