ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports the Hawks engaged the Magic in trade talks about center Dwight Howard earlier this month.
The Hawks did put together a deal for Howard back when the Magic had him on the market. My understanding is they did so without a commitment from Howard that he would either exercise his contract opt-in for next season or sign a long-term deal. The proposed deal eventually fell apart on Orlando’s end.
I’m not certain which players the Hawks offered but it’s unlikely Josh Smith was one of them. The Hawks would try to entice Howard to sign with the team long-term for the chance to play at home with his good friend.
That leaves either Al Horford or Joe Johnson as the centerpiece in a proposed trade for Howard. Horford has the most appeal for Orlando because of his talent, age and his popularity among the region’s fans from his days at the University of Florida.
The Magic have told teams that they are no longer actively trying to trade Howard while they try to convince him to re-sign. If they decide again to part with Howard, I think the Hawks are likely to re-engage them in trade talks. If, as Stein reports, the Magic are seeking “multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive” then the Hawks are well-positioned to make a competitive offer and still maintain a good core of players around Howard.
It would be a risky move for the Hawks since it’s possible Howard they could get Howard as a short-term rental in exchange for an All-Star player on a long-term contract. Howard has identified the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers as his preferred trade destinations.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat