When news broke that the Hawks had dealt longtime sharpshooter and fan favorite Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers, the effect that reverberated around the NBA for the next 48 hours was that the Hawks had decided to blow it up and start over, something personnel around the league knew that Hawks were on the brink of doing this time last season.
As many reports indicated, a number of suitors came calling for the services of multi-talented, impending free agent Paul Millsap including the Raptors, Kings, Nuggets, and Pelicans to name just a few.
One thing that wasn’t reported until now was that the Pelicans were engaged in trade talks for newly acquired center Dwight Howard for a brief period before they went on a winning steak and management made the decision to pull everyone off of the market.
NBA trade rumors: Pelicans asked the Hawks about Dwight Howard, according to report – SB Nation https://t.co/mG1XPIscV0
— Dwight Howard (@DwigHoward) January 18, 2017
According to intrepid ESPN NBA Reporter Zach Lowe, the talks were fluid before the Hawks decided to pull out of the trade market altogether for the time being:
“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,” Lowe said on ESPN.com.
This is intriguing on numerous fronts. First, the Hawks are clearly regretting signing their hometown star if they are really willing to deal him after a mere half season into his three-year contract. Second, the Pelicans do have some very below average centers that play alongside Anthony Davis. Omer Asik, is one of the worst offensive players in the NBA and doesn’t possess the paint patrolling ability he did in Chicago and Ajinca is a stiffer big man who can be exposed against smaller lineups. The interest in Howard shows that they believe the most effective way to play and protect Davis is to keep him at the four the majority of the time instead of unleashing him as a ridiculously athletic, quick and skilled center.
Howard would seem to be a great pairing next to Anthony Davis as a player who still is a valuable rim protector and can add a little scoring around the hoop. He could also work against smaller lineups as well without being exposed.
I played around with the ESPN Trade Machine to see how to make the salaries work in a trade that would make some sense and this is what I got:
If the Hawks would be willing to take on Solomon Hill, they would have an expiring in Tyreke Evans and a potential young rim protector in Diallo. They also would deal Sefolosha whom they probably won’t re-sign, and the Pelicans would have the defensive help and potentially corner three-point shooting they desperately need.
We’ll see if Howard or Millsap’s names pop back up on the market in the next month before the deadline.