This is a correction to my erroneous post [previously] regarding obtaining D. Howard. I hope it's an improvement:)
A) The Hard Facts.
Dwight wants to win ASAP!
The only way the Magic can win it all this year or next year is - if all these 6 teams suffers a MAJOR injury all at the same time which is very unlikely.
And with Agent O's HUGE contract till 2014, Orlando then cannot add top quality free agents to put them over the top nor will there be any insane team who will get Arenas via a trade.
If Dwight is true to his word of wanting to win ASAP, then he's "as good as gone" though Magic fans will totally disagree.
B) How soon can Dwight leave?
Dwight has a $19.2 mil. "player option" in 2013.
If he's truthful about wanting to win ASAP, he can terminate that in order to go to a championship caliber team.
With next year's CBA, player's salary will most likely be lower (i.e. what used to be $24-$30 mil./yr. will be down to say, $18-$23 mil.)
If Dwight terminates his player option in the quest for a ring, he can still get the $19 mil. he turns down with Orlando via signing with a top team which has lots of space.
For instance, if he signs with a contender for $18 mil. as a start, which then gradually increases year after year, he will loose a little bit of money but he goes to a championship team!
C) Which are those possible teams in 2013?
1. Our beloved C's which only has Pierce & Rondo signed for $27.8 mil combined.
2. The Spurs which only have Manu, Jefferson, & Bonner signed for $27.9 combined.
3. OKC which only have Durant, Perk, Collison, & Sefaloosha signed for $29.3 mil. combined, while Westbrooke has a $6.7 mil. qualifying offer.
4. Luckily, the Lakers are way over the cap while the Bulls & Dallas have very little room to wiggle that it's doubtful they can pursue Dwight.
If any of the 3 teams (Boston, OKC, & the Spurs) get Dwight for $18 mil. as a start, that puts any of these teams at a +$46 mil. payroll.
Now that leaves enough room to complete their roster via signing free agents to the "veteran minimum," the MLE, & most of all, the "Bird rights" for their important free agents such as : Ray & KG for Boston, Tim D. for Spurs, Westbrook for OKC.
D) The case for the Spurs.
The Spurs are in a tight spot because Parker becomes a free agent after this season which is then 1 year "earlier than ideal" for the Dwight sweepstakes.
Meaning, if the Spurs can convince Parker to look at the bigger picture & sign only a "1-year deal" for 2012 (worth $15 mil.) so that they can stay in the hunt for Dwight in 2013, then they can re-sign Tony again via "Bird rights" in 2013 after obtaining Howard.
But Parker's not the only problem since the Spurs have a lot of expiring contracts after this season (not only Tony) & so, they will also have to offer "1-year contracts" to their other free-agents next year to fill-up their roster. Now that's very difficult to almost impossible to do.
Or, if it's doable, they will loose all their free agents then get crappy free agents in return that it's tantamount to sacrificing next season just to get involved in the "not-so-100% yet guaranteed" Howard sweepstakes. (Nor is there a guarantee that Dwight will go to their fast-aging & "not-soo-deep" team, if Dwight does opt out in 2013.)
This is the Spurs great disadvantage versus Boston or OKC who's player's contracts (except a star player or 2) are set to expire after next year giving them a clean slate to pursue Howard in 2013 (if he does opts out), then sign their free agents for the "vet minimum," MLE, or "Bird rights."
In short, the Spurs indeed are in a very tight spot for a possible "Howard sweepstake."
E) The case for OKC.
OKC is really in a very good spot because they have 5 players who are "team options" in 2013 & they are: Ibaka, Harden, Aldrich, Maynor, & Mullens.
If they don't pick these options in order to land Dwight at $18 mil. as a start-up (if Dwight does opts out) , then that will put OKC's team salary at $48 mil. if Dwight does join Durant, Perk, Colisson, & Sefaloosha.
In turn, $48 mil. for 5 players gives OKC some room to pursue 6-7 free-agents for the veteran minimum & MLE.
With Dwight signed, it's most likely that Westbrook will take the $6.7 mil. qualifying offer as that's a championship team!
This will put OKC close to $7 mil. over the cap, but that's too little of a price to pay for the "luxury tax" in return for a banner!
Then Russell can re-sign for a higher contract in 2014 via "Bird rights" yet it won't burden OKC much in regards to luxury tax since Sefalooha's $3.9 mil. contract is set to expire thereby giving OKC some relief, then Perk & Collison's contracts expire the next year.
Of course, it will be foolhardy to let go of Perk & so, OKC re-signs him but they can find replacement for Sefaloosha & Collison at a much lower price.
Overall, OKC has a very good case scenario with the "Howard Sweepstake."
F) The case for Boston.
Our beloved C's, on the other hand, are in a similar position with the Spurs because like Parker, Krstic & BBD are free agents after this year while Jeff Green has a qualifying offer worth $5.9 mil.
Do we pursue these 3 & in the process, take ourselves out of the Howard sweepstakes?
Or can we convince Krstic & BBD to sign for a "1-year contract" next year for say, $5-6 mil. while convince Jeff to take the qualifying offer?
Then we can re-sign all 3 via "Bird rights" along KG, Ray [& etc]. after getting Dwight in 2013.
If at the very least, Jeff takes the qualifying offer while 1 of the 2 [BBD or Krstic] agrees to a "$6 mil./yr. for 4-5 years" (what Krstic makes now & what BBD is truly worth), then we're in good shape because we may loose BBD [or Krstic], but stays in the hunt for Dwight come 2013.
If either Krsitc or BBD, re-signs, then we'll end-up with guaranteeed contracts to Pierce, Rondo, & Kristic [or BBD] for $34 mil. combined, giving us the necessary space for Dwight. Sadly, we can only afford one player between BBD or Krstic.
If Dwight signs for $18 mil. as a start, that puts us to $52 mil. for 4 players (Rondo, Pierce, Kristic/BBD, Dwight) which leaves us a little more room to sign free-agents for the vet. minimum. & MLE.
If the cap is set at $56 mil. & the MLE's set at $4 mil., then we have $8 mil. available for 6 veteran free agents thereby giving us 10 players.
Then we re-sign Green, Ray, & KG to "Bird rights." That is:
KG & Ray for $5-6 mil./yr. for 2 years (which is what they're worth by then), that puts us to $72 mil. with 12 players.
If Green signs for $6 mil./yr. for 5 years (which is what he's worth), that puts us to $78 mil. with 13 players.
The remaining 2 spots are for the "rookie exception," Bradley's $1.6 mil. team option in 2013 will have to be waived.
In short, ownership may be looking at $20-$22 mil. over the cap which they may not want given the luxury tax!
G) So, which team's the best bet for Dwight to win multiple championships?
The way it looks, Boston & OKC are a tie because Boston is already deep but aging (like the Spurs who's not as deep)...
...but OKC's young with Durant, Westbrook, & Perk.
If Dwight really wants 2 instant championship, Boston's the place since our aging core still has a good 2 years left by 2013.
Once the core retires, Dwight will still be surrounded by very good players in Rondo, Green, & BBD [or Krstic] yet Boston will also have more space to add quality players to replace the core keeping the championship run going.
But if Dwight selects OKC, he's also in a very good place!
In short, either Boston or OKC are "no lose situations" for Dwight, it's really up to him to terminate his "player option" with the Magic in 2013 if he wants to win ASAP.
H) The Wild Card.
If LA really wants Dwight, they can get sneaky & pull a surprise move once again ala "Gasol for Kwame" which was truly unexpected.
What LA can do is offer quality players in Bynum, Brown, Artest, Odom, & Blake for Dwight & Arenas next year, the numbers work for such a trade!
This way, the Magic are relieved of Arenas MASSIVE contract & that they won't lose Dwight for nothing. Now that may entice Orlando!
They can then keep Bynum & Brown who are real good, young players, then trade Odom, Artest, & Blake to other teams for quality players or future draft picks. (Or they can keep those 3 former Lakers till ther contracts expire because they got game!)
LA on the other hand will have Gasol, Kobe, Dwight, Arenas, & the rest are supporting casts. Now that's still a championship team!
With LA quite maxed-out till 2014, this is the only way they can get Dwight - relieve Orlando of Agent O's massive contract at the same time!
But the thing that will greatly hinder LA is - the impending lock-out.
If next year's NBA season commenced as a "shortened season" after the lock-out, then there won't be any trading next year!
Or, if next year's NBA season gets cancelled due to a prolonged lock-out, then LA's only chance for a trade is if Dwight, for some reason, keeps the "player option" but won't sign an extension with Orlando.
When that happens, Orlando will really be compelled to trade Dwight for the best talents available rather than lose him for nothing, but they wil also attach Arenas huge contract with Dwight. LA then is the only team that can make it happen for Orlando.
LA on the other hand cannot afford Dwight to become a free agent after his "player option" year with Orlando runs-out because they can't go after him in 2014 being still maxed-out. If they loose Dwight, he will most likely go to their rivals Boston, OKC, or the Spurs which is a BIG "NO-NO" for LA!
Thus, taking on Arenas huge contract is their only best chance to get Dwight by 2013's trading dealine because LA will have the best talents to offer Orlando which OKC, Boston, Spurs, Dallas, the Bulls [& etc.] won't be able to match.
Besides, those teams won't be willing to take Arenas huge contract but LA can!
I) In Conclusion:
Inspite of LA's "maxed-out" predicament, there's a scenario where they still have a chance to get D. Howard, if they're really bent on obtaining him.
Given Mitch, J. West, & LA-land's unsatiable greed, of getting the best available player all the time, then anything's possible with these guys!
Howard on the other hand is rumoured to be enamored with LA & so, it will be a good marriage for both.
But if Howard terminates his "player option" with Orlando in 2013, that really takes LA-out, leaving OKC, Boston, & the Spurs as strong contenders for his services.
If he opts for Boston, is $80 mil. team-salary palatable for Celtic ownership?
Well, in Dwight we land an ever-improving, ever-so-dominating big man who's so young that he'll automatically gives us a chance to accumulate more banners & leave the Lakers behind once again!
After Magic Johnson & Kobe (2 worst villain in Celtic history) brought LA to within 1 banner of tying Boston's banners...
...$80 mil. team salary will be worth the expense but perhaps, ownership will be looking to bring it down near the cap.
The only way to do so is to make the unpopular move of trading Pierce & Rondo in 2013 ($27.8 mil. combined) for some players with expiring contracts or willing to be bought out.
Unfortunately, Pierce's HUGE contract in 2013 & 2014 will be very hard to move given the inevitable decline in his game by then. Hence, Rondo will be sadly added to get some takers.
But if the C's land 2 veteran PGs in 2013 (e.g. Nash, Kidd, & Bill-ups will be available), then Boston will still be championship caliber with Dwight, KG, Jeff, Ray, 2 vet PG's, Krstic [or BBD], & some other vets.
Or perhaps a trade involving Green & Pierce (instead of Pierce & Rondo) could be offered as it will also be very enticing for some other NBA teams.
But that leaves Boston very weak at the SF position.