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When Orlando uber-center Dwight Howard recently said that he’s at least open to coming to the Celtics, bells went off at Sports of Boston headquarters. Or at least they would have, if a) we had a headquarters, and b) it bells in it.
Getting Howard would meet many of the team’s most glaring needs. He’s a true center, terrific at rebounding, scoring and blocking. He’s young, veteran enough to know how to succeed in the NBA. And he’s perfectly suited for who the Celtics will have left – Rajon Rondo, E’Twaun Moore, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green – once the Big 3 leave after this season.
Of course, the Magic will ask quite a price to trade for Howard, and he’ll ask quite a bit himself if he reaches free agency. But how much is too much? Should the Celtics trade now or try to get Howard on the open market? Our writers weighed in:
“Offer 2 unprotected 1st-round picks, Avery Bradley, and a pair of expiring contracts (Allen? Pierce?).” – Taylor Avery
“Boston is better off hoping Howard stays with Orlando for the season and letting Danny Ainge do his magic (pun intended) in the off season. If he can then bring back Garnett and Allen in reduced roles (for a reduced cost), I think I’ll like what I see.” – Josh Segal
“Let the contracts for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett expire. Then, maybe they can convince KG and Ray to return at a much cheaper rate. Then, if that happens, they can convince Dwight Howard that they will build around him, Rajon Rondo, a returning Jeff Green, Paul Pierce, and others. That team would likely compete for a conference title every year.
If you want to get creative…the Celtics could find a way to deal Paul Pierce for a younger talent that probably wont stay with his current team (maybe Eric Gordon or DeMarcus Cousins?). Then, they could let Ray and KG expire and build around Rondo, Gordon, and Howard.” – K.C. Downey
“My gut says the Dwight Howard sweepstakes will end in free-agency. … Small market teams generally don’t trade superstars in the hope that they can convince them to stay long-term, a la Tim Duncan. Houston, Brooklyn and Boston are the only teams with cap space this summer that Howard would play for. If Howard makes it to free-agency, the Celtics are in an excellent position.” – Nathan Hodge
“I would give anything people wanted. But realistically Rondo plus draft picks are their only commodities. I think if I were Orlando I would look heavy at the Howard for [Knicks' Tyson] Chandler and [Knick's Amare] Stoudemire.” – George Cain
“I’d be willing to give up Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, both 2012 draft picks, Chad Ochocinco, and John Maine. I’d force them to take John Maine.” – Aryeh Rosenfeld
“I would do just about anything to land Dwight Howard (short of trading Rondo, that is – someone has to throw Howard alley-oops). But since the Celtics don’t have any trade chips to offer Orlando, I feel it’s up to me to persuade Mr. Howard to dress in green this offseason.
First, I would forswear any knowledge of Shaq’s (at least I think that’s what he was called) stint in Boston, permanently erasing him from the Celtics record books. To complete Howard’s instatement as the only Superman in franchise history, I would then burn the $10 T-shirt I bought from Rite-Aid bearing O’Neal’s #36 as part of a gory, fiery ritualistic sacrifice of Greg Stiemsma to the basketball gods. Speaking of deities, the final method of persuasion to complete my offering to Dwight Howard would be to make him my personal Tim Tebow to whom I would pray every night (especially before a big game). I would prove my sincerity and earnestness by tattooing his Clark Kent persona on my upper left chest and his caped appearance on the reverse shoulder blade, so that whenever I turned around he would undergo his phone booth transformation and deliver the Celtics and me from evil (namely losing to the Heat).” – Nick Bohlen
As for me, I’d give up Greg Stiemsma and Jajuan Johnson without hesitation, plus a first rounder in 2012 and a second rounder in 2013. While we’re at it, have Sasha Pavlovic. And since Howard’s coming from Orlando, they get to choose: for either every day for three months or every week for a year, I will favorably mention both Disney World and Waffle House on Facebook.