The Atlanta Hawks are playing improved basketball and that has led the club to reportedly pull everyone, including Paul Millsap, off the trade market. However, more details continue to surface on the type of discussions the front office was having prior to that decision and Dwight Howard was included in a recent report to that end.
Zach Lowe of ESPN, in the midst of a deep dive on the New Orleans Pelicans, made reference to Anthony Davis and the “physical toll” of playing the talented big man at center. Shortly thereafter, he slipped in this nugget about trade talks involving Howard:
In the days that followed, Atlanta and New Orleans had exploratory talks about possible Howard trades before the Hawks pulled everyone off the market, according to several league sources. It is unclear how interested New Orleans was, and there was not unanimous support within the team for acquiring Howard.
In the grand scheme, this could have been a blip on the radar but it also makes sense given the rumblings of a full-scale rebuild. Millsap has, quite obviously, been the biggest name on the market but, if the team elected to part ways with the All-Star forward to plan for the future, there is an argument that Howard’s place on the roster could be uncertain.
It is important to note that the seriousness of these talks is unclear and that Atlanta’s position to compete this season remains visible with the addition of Mike Dunleavy to the rotation and Gary Neal on a 10-day contract. Still, the mere notion that Howard might have been available in trade is noteworthy and this is simply to keep an eye on if the team’s play declines in the month before the trade deadline.