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Report: Dwight Howard, if traded from Rockets, wants to join Hawks or maybe Heat

Dwight Howard said he hasn’t asked the Rockets to trade him.

But, on the block anyway, Howard still has an opinion to share.

Chris Broussard of ESPN on SportsCenter:

Dwight Howard, the Rockets told him last week he could be traded before the deadline. Dwight, if he’s moved, would like to go to Atlanta, maybe Miami.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

This is when, if I were Howard, I’d hope my agent is privy to what the Rockets are doing. Howard has a say in these trade talks, because he’ll reportedly opt out of his contract this summer. If he assures certain teams he’ll re-sign, it’s far more likely they’d surrender enough to appease Houston.

Both the Hawks and Heat make sense from Howard’s point of view. He’s an Atlanta native, so there are certainly appeals to returning home (though also drawbacks). The Heat helped another talented player with a reputation for immaturity, LeBron James, become a champion.

But would either team deal for Howard?

The Hawks already have a better, and slightly younger, center in Al Horford. However, he’ll also be a free agent this summer. If Atlanta believes it has a better chance of re-signing Howard – especially if the Rockets think they could re-sign Horford – a deal could make sense.

The central piece in a Miami package might be Hassan Whiteside, but that carries complications. Houston couldn’t exceed the cap to re-sign Whiteside nor offer a fifth year on a contract this summer, and its offer over four years could be only slightly higher than other teams’. In other words, why trade for Whiteside when it’d be nearly as easy to sign him this summer without dealing for him? Plus, there’s a massive difference in salary between Howard ($22,359,364) and Whiteside ($981,348). That’ll make find a legal trade difficult, especially because the Rockets have minimal wiggle room below their hard cap and the Heat – in line to become the first ever payer of the luxury-tax repeater rate – will be averse to adding salary.

It’s definitely possible Houston trades Howard, but there are at least two – and probably three – sides to approve a deal. That’s always complicated.