Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are good friends, and after missing out on working out a deal to join forces two years ago, the summer of 2013 might see them fulfill their wish, maybe even with the Atlanta Hawks, or on a more radical notion, for the Los Angeles Clippers, but that would have to involve the Los Angeles Lakers.
Why the Hawks? Because they’re the only team with the cap space to sign both players on maximum contract and actually seems like a likely destination for both of them to want to play for. Howard is an Atlanta native, but he won’t be willing to play there unless it means getting a chance to do more than the Hawks have done over the last couple of seasons, which is getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
Paul? The rumors are quite confusing about him. Some say that he’s angry at the Clippers making it look like he’s the reason they fired Vinny Del Negro, but others seem to be quite sure he’s gotten over that, and isn’t looking to play anywhere else. In 2005, when Paul came into the NBA, the Hawks were criticized for not taking him and missing out on a decade of success, or at least more than they’ve had since then, not to mention Paul being quite excited about the prospect of playing for the team, which isn’t such a strong desire in him at the moment.
Houston might be Howard’s favorite destination in general, but it seems impossible for them to pull of signing both of them, unless they start trading away pieces they’re not too keen on giving up. Dallas are also a destination both would consider, but there’s no way the Mavericks pull off the signing of both of them. Just to get one, they’ll need to cut back on Nowitzki’s salary (something he’s willing to do), but it’s hard to believe they can pull off the signings of both players.
The Lakers still see themselves as Howard’s next team, but it is getting clearer and clearer he prefers playing somewhere else, if the opportunity presents itself. Under no circumstances will the Lakers be willing to do a sign & trade that sees Howard shipped off somewhere else, but the one thing to remember about the Lakers is that unless they amnesty someone, their roster is old and in bad shape, even if Kobe Bryant comes back at 100% from his injury.
And how about the Clippers? Getting Howard involved a sign & trade with the Lakers, but no one believes the Lakers would be willing to make that kind of deal with their LA rivals who have suddenly become the dominant team in the city. However, an offer involving Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe might change their minds. However, Griffin, at the moment, is considered untouchable, so it may be that the dream of Paul and Howard to play together may have to wait a few more years.