NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Top 5 NBA Teams That Could Land Dwight Howard In 2013

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Top 5 NBA Teams Where Dwight Howard Will Be Next Season

Top 5 Dwight Howard
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It's only the second month of the NBA season and one team in particular may have a headache going into the All-Star break in February. That is the Los Angeles Lakers. The headache will be caused by Dwight Howard.

Remember last season with the Orlando Magic when talks loomed in the nation about where Howard would land? Will he stay or will he go? Will he stay or will he go? Will he stay or will he go?

That question was asked over and over again. I do not expect that same type of drama to go on this year. However, I do expect the Lakers to be worried about Howard leaving if the Lakers do not come to together at all this season.

Howard will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st and his decision will determine the way the Lakers finish their season.

They fired Mike Brown after starting the season 1-4 and instead of hiring a coach who has 11 championship rings, Phil Jackson, they went with a guy who has no rings: Mike D'Antoni.

This is one bad move that has already been made by the team thus far as D'Antoni was not able to do it with the Phoenix Suns who had Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson. He also was not able to do anything with the New York Knicks who had Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields and Chauncey Billups. If he could not do it with those teams then why do the Lakers think that he can win a title with them?

They already made a mistake in hiring D'Antoni, but then again, I could be wrong. If they do win a championship then Howard will stay with the Lakers.

If the Lakers do not win a title or reach the Conference Finals this season, then I believe that Howard going else where will be a big possibility. To where that may be, you ask? Here are five places where Howard might end up next season.

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#5 Brooklyn Nets

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The only possible way that Howard can go to the Brooklyn Nets will be by trade. Howard cannot go to Brooklyn as a free agent since that would put the Nets over the salary cap.

If somehow the Lakers are completely out of the playoff hunt by the end of the season, then maybe Howard would ask them to trade him. At the end of last season he wanted nothing more than to be traded to Brooklyn, but then couldn't make up his mind.

Now if he truly still wants to be a member of the Nets he'll have to ask for a trade. However, if the Nets have a good record then they may not want to trade for him since it could mess up their team's chemistry.

With that said, Brooklyn is probably the least likely of these places that he will end up.

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#4 Atlanta Hawks

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

With the cap room that the Atlanta Hawks have it gives them as good a shot as any other team.

The Hawks would have Devin Harris and Josh Smith on the team if Howard, for some reason, decided to go back East and sign with Atlanta. What else is there?

Nothing, really. I mean, coach Larry Drew has done a great job thus far this season to keep the Hawks above .500. Maybe with Howard, Drew might be able to turn the Hawks into a legit championship-contending team.

Again, the only reason why the Hawks are on the list is because of the cap space they have. If Howard goes there then he should have well stayed with Orlando.

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#3 Houston Rockets

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The Houston Rockets were in the hunt during this past off-season for Howard but in the end, it did not work out for them. However, they were able to land Jeremy Lin and James Harden.

It should not be a shock if Howard decides to go to Texas. The Rockets have cap room for him and they have players they could put around him.

Harden has shown, so far, that he can be an elite athlete and scorer. Having Howard on the court would create the Rockets' own young version of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Well, maybe not the same standard of talent as they were, but a similar one-two punch.

Either way, if that could happen then other key role players will want to go to Houston making the Rockets an instant championship contending team. Plus, no state taxes!

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#2 Dallas Mavericks

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If Howard wants to go the Texas but doesn't want to play for the Rockets then the next choice would be the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are another team that has enough cap room to sign him to a big deal.

Owner Mark Cuban has been criticized for breaking up a championship team after the 2011 run, but the reason he did that was because of what could happen this coming summer.

Out of the teams that I have mentioned thus far, the Mavs could be the best choice for Howard and I am not biased as a Mavs writer. Cuban and the Mavericks' organization would be a perfect fit for a defensive big man like Howard.

He would be on a team that has Dirk Nowitzki and O.J. Mayo, a future Hall of Famer and a potential All-Star. Howard joining the mix would make Dallas an automatic title contender.

Nowitzki has already said that he wants to play a few more years after his current contract is up, so Howard would have the German superstar have on the team for at least three years if he comes to Dallas. Again, no state taxes!

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#1 Los Angeles Lakers

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The obvious pick here for Howard would be the Lakers. I mean, why not? It's Hollywood and it's the Lakers. It's the Staples Center with tons of crazy fans and celebrities rooting for him, so why would Howard not pick L.A.?

For all the reasons I mentioned before about the Lakers, not advancing deep into the playoffs this year would be the likely reason Howard would choose to leave Los Angeles. However, even if the Lakers do not contend for the title, Howard may like living in Los Angeles.

Maybe he wants to be part of the greatest Laker legends of all time. I am sure when every player who knows the history of the NBA looks up at the rafters gets that chill. Maybe Howard wants that.

If he does decide to stay with the Lakers, then they may need to make some changes with the roster and I am sure that they will be willing to do so to keep the big man. Once they make the right moves, then the Lakers could become the team that they once were when they had Bryant and O'Neal in the early 2000s.