Atlanta emerges as possible destination for Dwight Howard

By Quixem Ramirez

April 16, 2011; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) drives against Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collins (34) during the first half of game one of the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry has irreparably altered the course of the franchise in a mere week — probably for the better. Ferry orchestrated a deal that alleviated their most prevalent financial albatross, Joe Johnson and his $89.4 million cap burden.

In a much smaller deal Ferry dealt perennial underachiever Marvin Williams for Devin Harris. Harris’ role won’t be significant, as he’ll be relegated to back up duty, but he has one less year on his contract, freeing up an extra $7.5 million.

And as a direct result of their extra cap space, Atlanta has emerged as destination for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, who declined his extension with the Clippers signaling his entry into unrestricted free agency next season.

The Hawks have thus quickly emerged as a potential destination for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard,     who grew up in the Atlanta area and is close friends with Hawks swingman Josh Smith. Howard is also     close with Anthony Morrow, one of five players that the Hawks will acquire from the Brooklyn Nets in their     pending trade with the Nets for Johnson.

    via Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of

Atlanta shipped away $105 million in long-term salary but only received $23.5 million in return. Combined with three legitimate assets that could lure the Magic into making a deal this year — Josh Smith’s expiring contract, Jeff Teague and Al Horford — Atlanta has quickly rectified their previous mistakes. Ferry won’t stand for consistent mediocrity and thus, Atlanta is in store for a major upheaval.

I’d say that’s a lot better than barely making a dent in the NBA hierarchy.