What Would Happen If Dwight Howard Was Traded to Your Team?
Dwight Howard is very much on the block as the NBA's trade deadline approaches. Here are some places he might go, and reasons they wouldn't work out at all.
Photo by Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is on the trading block, and for the third time in his 12-year career he looks to leave a state of disarray and malaise in his wake. We believe this is no coincidence, and that any team acquiring Howard before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday will experience a similar franchise-wide depression, which can take a wide variety of forms.
Whether via candy, general clownishness, farts—which Howard has deployed as a weapon against a writer featured below—or an oversensitivity about his post-up touches, Dwight Howard eventually pushes whatever team he's on into the red. Here we envision how that might play out wherever Dwight lands next.
Dwight is an instant defensive upgrade over the lumbering yet delicate presence of Greg Monroe. His first mistake is convincing Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker to play a whoopee-cushion-and-feta-cheese-related prank on the sensitive Giannis Antetokounmpo. After Giannis is embarrassed on the world stage, his supporters protest outside the US embassy in Greece, a situation that spins out of control, ultimately leading to a brief hostage situation and another currency crisis. Also, Dwight accidentally spills Mountain Dew all over O.J. Mayo's prized collection of Weezer memorabilia. —AS
After finding flaming dogshit at his front door, Stan Van Gundy is arrested for attempting to murder Dwight for his relatively tame joke. Van Gundy is released on bail, and then arrested again for murdering Dwight. Despite a valiant effort by interim coach Tim Hardaway, doing his best Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver impression, the Pistons miss the playoffs by one game. —AS
New Orleans Pelicans
Dwight loses himself in the culture and history of New Orleans, meeting a wild but mysterious group of goth pranksters who only come out at night and are obsessed with drinking blood and listening to Bauhaus in graveyards. This is all well and good, but things take a turn when Dwight introduces his new crew to Pelicans building block and GOAT aspirant Anthony Davis. Soon enough, Davis is caught up in reading Anne Rice novels and refusing to eat garlic. Kendrick Perkins, the Brow's mentor, vows revenge. He challenges Dwight to a duel only to be offended when Dwight belches out the melody of "Ode to Joy" instead of accepting or declining. Tom Benson sells the team because "who really cares." —AS
The Hornets are looking like a dark horse contender in the East until Michael Jordan shows up at a practice and rather cruelly yells at Dwight in front of everyone. This is the last straw. Dwight's transformation from MVP candidate to Kwame Brown stand-in is complete. He once again tweets out #FreePalestine and this time refuses to walk it back, because at that point he doesn't care anymore. His love of the game, like the hopes for a two-state solution, is dead. —AS
Dwight is instantly jealous of the fawning attention that the People's Champ and relative "normie" Will Barton receives from local beat writers. He hires two down-and-out friends, Tedo Hurkoglu and Lashard Rewis, to help him mount an extremely haphazard kidnapping scheme that involves abducting Mike Malone after practice. Dwight plans to heroically "rescue" Malone, but finds that Will Barton has already done so. In retaliation, Dwight refuses to catch the ball in the first, third, and fourth quarters. —AS
Dwight objects to the relative complexity of Brad Stevens' egalitarian pace-and-space system predicated on death by a thousand cuts. Boston fans, initially thrilled about the trade that catapulted them to instant contender status, turn on Dwight when he is caught doing an impression of Larry Bird by saying, "UH I'M LARRY BIRD, A-DOY!" When the Celtics win the championship, the city of Boston petitions to refuse it on account of Dwight's funny (yet tasteless) impression. Dwight doubles down and pretends to be Larry Bird saying such things as "Hi, I'm Larry Bird" and "What's that? I'm Larry Bird and I misheard you, son." This goes on for the rest of his life. —AS
Exiled to Washington, D.C., to play second fiddle to yet another star guard, Dwight is thrown into a deep depression because the Rockets gave up on him. He makes an imaginary friend to guide him through his existential crisis. It turns out that the imaginary friend is just Wizards ne'er-do-well mascot, G-Wiz. G-Wiz is an alcoholic and now so, too, is Dwight. Boy howdy is he ever. —AS
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers trade Blake Griffin for Howard straight up when Blake punches another team staffer—this time for saying disparaging things about the most recent direct-to-DVD installment of the Air Bud franchise. Dwight and DeAndre Jordan engage in a bout of goofballism that escalates to the point where they are arguing over the right to give Chris Paul a piggyback ride every day. Paul demands a trade, and retires when Los Angeles refuses it. —JW
New York Knicks
Howard ruins the diet of pearlescent Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis when he introduces the Latvian to Super Rope. Seduced by a candy that can be tied together to match his devastating wingspan, Kristaps agrees to Dwight's proposition during an especially weird road trip: the two tie ten Super Ropes together on the Knicks' team plane. They then eat the long strand simultaneously and from opposite ends, slowly chewing their way toward each other across the carriage, a la Lady and the Tramp. Porzingis injures his knee while trying to step over Jose Calderon for the last bite. —JW
The Heat and the Rockets swap problematic centers and, shortly after the trade, it is revealed that Houston's quick descent into mediocrity began when Howard forced James Harden to visit Disney World with him during the offseason, and laughed remorselessly at the MVP runner-up while he screamed and cried on the Tower of Terror. Howard corroborates the story with a Vine of Harden's tear-streaked face under a plastic Mickey Mouse ear hat, which Howard also foisted upon him. The resulting meme comes to rival Crying Jordan in its ubiquity, and Harden instructs the loathsome Hassan Whiteside to elbow Howard without reservation when Miami visits the Toyota Center. Whiteside ends Dwight's career as well as his own. It is worth it. —JW
There is a long Kings bender at a dive bar on an off night in Memphis, and Howard plays "Big Buck Hunter" with Rajon Rondo for two hours. Dwight then makes jokes with Rondo about human hunting. Rondo does not think Dwight is joking. —JW
Back home in Atlanta, Howard becomes embroiled in a Tom Wolfean web of power brokers, lawyers, policemen, city officials, and pimps that ends with him very demonstrably farting in the direction of mayor Kasim Reed's face during a pre-game ceremony. Howard receives an indefinite suspension from the league, and deserves it. —JW
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland's favorite player is Damian Lillard, a devoted, engaged point guard who values loyalty, community, and a Protestant work ethic. Everyone loves this guy! His seriousness speaks to us, reminds us of a time when Portland metro was seen as a regular place with nice folks and not the punch line to a national joke about artisan foodstuffs. Dwight Howard is a giant clown man who is made both worse and less relevant by the ravages of time and the shifting sands of change. People are sick of him after like two weeks. I'm already sick of him, and I'm just WRITING about him. I don't even have a joke here; I just don't like thinking about it. —CS
First, the trade fucks up a perfectly good tank for no reason whatsoever. As long as you're at the dump, you might as well strip copper out of old computers for cash, right? Second, Dwight Howard, adult in the room? Can't let the kids think that shit is acceptable. —CS
Dwight and Earl Watson start hanging out at the local train tracks, tossing back brewdoggs and wizzing on the third rail. When a train passes, sometimes one of them says, "I should just jump on that train and go away from this horrible place. Do random odd jobs for friendly locals. Work the land, with my hands. Never be seen by a camera ever again. Die peaceful and happy. Leave my money to the local parks department." Neither man ever does. —CS
San Antonio Spurs
/Computer starts smoking. It smells like someone just poured 20 ounces of kombucha into it. —DR
Dwight lives out the narrative arc of the horrible club dude from The Match Factory Girl—line for line, action for action. He even speaks Swedish. —CS
Marc Gasol mercilessly picks on the newbie for being short until Dwight gives a tearful address to the media. It starts a REAL conversation about locker room bullying in America. Marc Gasol is made into a widely loathed national demon, Dwight into a hero who did a lot of good. In 30 years, America is one of the most polite countries in the world until Dwight, who wants to buy a big-ass yacht with a picture of his face on the front but can't make it work with his accountants, "writes" a tell-all book (I ghostwrite it, actually, even though I am making fun of him in public right now, after we forgive each other) and reveals that he exaggerated the locker-room incidents and his feelings about them to the media. America reevaluates their newly deeply ingrained cultural values and rejects them out of hand. Everyone goes back to acting like dicks, and Dwight gets his stupid boat. —CS