There's so much talk about Howard going to LA (or Boston by wishful thinkers like me) but let's examine both team's chances:
A) Our beloved C's.
As much as a lot of C's fans [including me] who would love to have Dwight in 2013...
...& also a lot of C's fans who hates him because of the current bitter rivalry between the Magic & our C's,
it's very unlikely for Dwight to come to Boston because:
Paul & Rondo are signed for $27.8 mil. combined in 2013...
...while KG & Ray will most likely be signed for a much reduced [bargain] price after next year, perhaps a little above the MLE.
For instance, if KG & Ray both re-signs for $5-6 mil./two-years contract, that puts our C's payroll close to $40 mil. - & that's only the Big 4!
Of course, it's hard to imagine both KG & Ray re-signing for lesser than $5 mil., that will be a travesty!
And with the promising Jeff Green most likely be offered a reasonable contract after this season (say, $7-8 mil./yr.), then that puts us close to $48-50 mil. payroll in 2013.
Indeed, Jeff has so much potential to make it "The Big 5" starting next year that he's truly a "must re-sign."
Now even if the new salary cap stays the same at $58 mil. post NBA lock-out...
...we won't have any space to sign Dwight because there's no way he will go to us (his bitter rivals) for a mere $8-10 mil./year.
The $8-10 mil. space we have left is then salary for our supporting cast consisting of a bunch of vets playing for the minimum, & rookies or 2nd & 3rd year players.
Overall, it's quite hard to imagine KG, Ray, & Green not being a Celtic come 2013 because:
Green is "a must re-sign" while Ray & KG wouldn't want to play anywhere else at this stage of their career, it's very unlike that Danny doesn't offer them a reasonable contract just to go for Dwight.
Whereas BBD, he will most likely be offered big $$$ by several teams after this season, he's most likely gone!
To sum it up, Superman ain't coming to Boston in 2013!
B) LA's case.
LA is the place where Dwight really wants to go, that's a no-brainer!
The problem with LA in 2013 is...
...they have Kobe signed for $30.5 mil. & Gasol for $19.2 mil.
That makes their payroll $49.7 mil. already!
And with Luke Walton signed for $7.7 mil.which is vastly OVERPAID while Blake is also signed for $4 mil....
...that makes their payroll $61.5 mil. which will be way over the cap!
Hell, there's no way they can move Luke with that HUGE salary because who would want him for $7.7 mil?
Or even if some crazy team takes him while LA buys-out the player traded for Luke...
...they still won't have space to sign Dwight not unless Dwight is willing to play for a mere $1 mil. for one season which other top players has done in the past, then re-sign for a much bigger contract the next year.
Is there an NBA law that prohibits such a fix nowadays?
The only solution then for LA is to trade Gasol for Dwight straight-up, but it's very unlikely given LA's GREED!!!
Remember Kwame for Pau? LA will surely want to have all 3! (Kobe, Pau, & Dwight.)
Bynum then may have to look for another team once his contract expires in 2013.
C) So where will Dwight end-up in 2013?
That's the million dollar question & chances are, it will be a "dark horse team," a team rarely mentioned for Dwight.
Let's say Dwight won't sign an extension with the Magic on the last year of his contract [2012-2013] because he really wants-out & go to LA.
The Magic then will look for a trade rather than lose him for nothing like what happened with Shaq & LBJ.
Of course, the Magic wouldn't want a repeat of "Superman I" - lose a franchise player to LA who then gives LA a "3-peat" instead of the Magic.
And so, they wouldn't want to trade with LA not unless LA offers Gasol which is very unlikely given LA's greed.
Moreover, Kobe & Dwight alone plus some supporting casts WILL NOT bring championships given Kobe's advancing age by then. And so, LA will really want to retain Pau too!
Hence, the Magic will trade with another Western team, no way will they trade East while no-way will LA trade Pau for Dwight, Pau's versatiliy is just too valuable for LA!
Besides, Pau has a history of being mediocre if not paired with another superstar (remember Memphis?) & so, the Magic may not be interested in him given his advancing age in 2013.
The bottom line is: the Magic will most likely not want a repeat of "Superman I" (it's just too painful for their fans) that they might be looking to trade out West not with LA, but with some other Western team.
D) The Dark Horse team that may pull it off.
Any team that will go after Dwight would want to be assured that Dwight will sign an extension.
Dwight on the other hand might change his mind about LA (where his heart's really at) if he's traded to a team that's truly a championship contender.
If that happens, then Dwight may sign a contract extension ala Melo with NY.
Now who is that Western team that may have enough to offer the Magic?
Well, the Clips have Blake G. but Dwight will not sign an extension with the Clips.
The same goes with the Warriors, Portland, Utah, Orleans, Minnesota.
They have players to offer but Dwight won't sign an extension with any of these teams because he will be the lone superstar.
These teams then will be realistic of their small chance to land Howard long term that they won't even bother just like how a lot of teams didn't even bother for Melo, only 2 teams did (NJ & NY).
And so, the only team out west that have players to trade for while also maintaining their superstars to run along Dwight for the championship is - OKC!
Durant, Westbrook, & Howard. How does that sound?
If OKC gets into the "Howard sweepstakes" but LA up the ante by offering Gasol & say, Shannon Brown...
...then it will be like Melo all-over again whereby there's only 2 teams that are strongly competing for Dwight, this time out West & not East..
Most likely, Orlando will opt for what OKC has to offer (Perk & some other good players plus future draft picks)...
...because Orlando wouldn't want a repeat of "Superman I" & see Dwight give LA a "3-peat," that will be just to painful for Magic land & its fans.
Dwight on the other hand may just forget about LA & sign an extension with OKC seeing that he'll be playing with Durant & Westbrook.
Some of his former Magic teammates then may follow him (for the vet minimum) once they become free agents.
*Indeed, OKC can pull this off in 2013 because if they trade Perk, Collison, Sefaloosha & future draft picks for Dwight, then they will only have Durant's $16.5 mil. thereby giving them a lot of space to sign both Howard & Westbrook.
OKC's offer then is so much better than LA offering Gasol & Brown since Gaosl will be 32 by then & that Orlando wouldn't want another "Superman goes Hollywood" Part II.
Who will stop such a FORMIDABLE OKC team?
Definitely not Miami nor Chicago or even LA even if they re-sign Bynum after failing to get Dwight.
The only team that stands a chance against such a "Thunderous" team is our beloved C's & its Big 5.
Hopefully, Green's a legit star by then while the Big 3's still somewhat effective whereas Rondo develops a jump shot ala Westbrook.
Still, we will need a strong supporting cast by then.
Does Hamilton, Prince, & Nash who will all be free agents by then sounds good?
Prince really likes our Big 3 while Rip wants to play for a contender once again after his huge contract with the Pistons expires next year.
The same goes for Nash, no way will he stay with Pheonix when his contract expires next year.
By then, all 3 will be aged like our current Big 3, but all six of them will still be somewhat effective like Shaq now at 38.
How about Greg Oden?
What if he heals by next year & opts for Boston after next season (when he becomes a free agent) for a reasonable price but a chance to redeem himself?
What other better place than Boston?
Of course, Krstic is for keeps (for his cheap salary) given his current admirable work.
But it will be nice to have Oden too since Shaq & JO will be retired by then.
If Troy recovers his old touch, he will be surely great for us for the minimum.
And if we add one more very physical, a real banger of a big man (e.g. Pryzbilla who will be a free agent next year), then we will have enough biggies to battle the ever-improving Dwight.
But if Dwight is really bent on going to Hollywood & rub shoulders with the stars & perhaps be in showbiz too ala Shaq back then, all he has to do is to sign a 1-year extension with the Magic with the pretense that he will give them 1 more chance to improve the team to championship caliber.
Of course, that WON'T happen & so, when 2013-2014 is finished (with our beloved C's winning a 4th straight championship:), Dwight can then go to LA which will have a very clean slate because everybody's contract is finished (Kobe, Pau, Luke, Blake, & Bynum).
...Kobe & Pau can then re-sign with LA for a much lower rate reflective of their age, Bynum re-signs too for a reasonable price, then Howard signs for say, $15-16 mil./year.
That will be a very scary Lakers team which we may not beat!
I bet a lot of C's fans like me would rather see Howard in OKC in 2013 & not LA!