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Dwight Howard Rumors: Is Nets Deal Best Option For Orlando?

Over at RealGM, I have a look at why the package being rumored to go to Orlando from Brooklyn and at least two other teams isn't close to the best option for the Magic:

For a small-market franchise rebuilding from the loss of a Hall of Fame player, the worst possible outcome is a team capable of contending for a No. 8 seed. The only way to replace a talent like Howard is at the top of the NBA draft, which is why Orlando should focus on bottoming out after Howard’s departure.

Sending Howard to Brooklyn would be a best-case scenario for the enigmatic center and the NBA as a whole, as it would create a legitimate rival for LeBron’s Miami Heat in the biggest media center in the US. However, none of that should concern Orlando, who would be paying Lopez, Nelson and Turkoglu a lot of money for an outside shot at the playoffs.

The best possible deal for Orlando is with the Houston Rockets, a franchise that has been acquiring assets for years precisely for the chance to grab a superstar like Howard. Houston, if they are willing to gamble on picking up Howard without an extension, would give the Magic their best chance to accelerate the rebuilding process. The Rockets have a first-round pick from the Toronto Raptors, who are probably still at least one year away from playoff contention, the cap space to eat some of Orlando’s bad contracts as well as some extremely intriguing high-upside young players locked into rookie scale deals.

From the Mavericks perspective, any deal sending Howard to Brooklyn would be heart-breaking, as the super-team Mark Cuban envisioned last December with Deron Williams and Dwight would occur, but not in Dallas.

A deal with Houston, in contrast, would at least give the Mavericks a chance at wooing Howard in free agency, as they don't have a superstar or the media cache the MVP-caliber center seems to want.

Nevertheless, in situations like these, superstars are almost always able to pick their eventual destinations, which is why Dallas' best (for whatever that's worth) option in 2013 could be LA Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

For all the latest news and notes on the Mavericks free agency plans, stay tuned to the SB Nation Dallas story-stream as well as Mavs Moneyball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.