The Atlanta Hawks aren't thought of as one of the favorites to land current Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard but the team will likely be very aggressive in the pursuit once Howard becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Since coming on board Danny Ferry has cleared mountains of cap space and the Hawks are now in position to offer a max deal to Howard next offseason. The question is would he listen.
Ferry and the Hawks are banking on existing relationships with Anthony Morrow and Josh Smith to help lure Howard back home to Atlanta. It may not be as far fetched as it sounds. Howard has long expressed his desire to play in Brooklyn but the Nets are going to have to get creative with their roster to throw a max offer at Howard. Its a long shot by any means for the Hawks who would likely need Howard to avoid being traded to a team like the Nets, Lakers or Mavericks during the season.
If the Hawks can get Howard to unrestricted free agency without one of his favorite teams holding the right to offer him an extra year and more money on a contract then all bets are off. Morrow recently talked about the situation with Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy and was careful with his words but acknowledged the possibility.
"With me and Josh having a relationship with Dwight, it's a possibility," Morrow said. "It's always a possibility, but that's something that they'll have to take care of upstairs. Mr. Ferry is doing a great job so far. Anything is possible, you never know. It'd be great with the relationship that us three have, and (fellow Atlanta native) Lou Williams too, especially from a chemistry standpoint. That's a good core group of guys right there to build a team around. It'd be great, but there's no telling what will happen."
Of course for the Hawks it would also mean getting both Smith and Morrow to stay also as both will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
So if you are firmly in the camp of wanting to see Dwight Howard in a Hawks uniform then you need to be pulling for him to remain with the Magic as long as possible. No trades to the Lakers or Brooklyn and you can probably add the Mavericks and maybe the Rockets to that group. The longer this goes a dark horse team like the Hawks could find itself as the favorite.
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