Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes that the Portland Trail Blazers should explore the possibilities around Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The Blazers are in a similar salary boat as Houston: they'd need to unload a little to make Howard a competitive offer. But they have quite a bit of space, an opening at center and a nice supporting cast that would definitely make the playoffs with a healthy Howard. If Damian Lillard continues to develop and the presence of Dwight makes the defensive potential of Nicolas Batum and Wes Matthews shine, this could be a damn fine team.
I have other ideas for Portland, though. They went after Roy Hibbert a year ago. If they were still interested, they could trade for him while sending the Pacers only minimal salary and draft picks. Indiana would then have room to sign Howard. Or we could get really fancy and pull a three-way deal: Hibbert to Portland, Danny Granger to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade that sends Howard to Indiana. Regardless: Dwight, a re-signed David West, Paul George, George Hill, Lance Stephenson, wins wins wins.
[The location of the above three teams, of course, is a significant impediment. You and I love all three places, but Dwight has been incredibly picky about location in the recent past. See: Dwightmare. I think the Spurs could make a compelling case despite the less glamorous locale. The Pacers could potentially do so as well. I'm not sure the Blazers could convince anyone they would be competitive enough for Howard to sacrifice one of his priorities.]
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter