Orlando, with an 85-year old owner and a brand new $500 million arena, has little interest in rebuilding in the way New Orleans did after dealing Chris Paul to the LA Clippers earlier in December.
As a result, the Hawks, with a package built around Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, feel like they have a chance at getting in on the bidding for the Atlanta-born superstar.
However, there's been little movement from Orlando's side, with GM Otis Smith telling the Orlando Sentinel that "I don’t think there’s anything on the table that won’t be on the table three months from now."
Considering that Howard is one of the top 5 players in the NBA, a three-time defending Defensive Player of the Year and the only elite two-way center in the league, Smith is probably right.
For the Hawks, acquiring the 6'11 265 center would be a bold move to re-invigorate a franchise that has never quite connected with its Atlanta fan-base and who has been stuck at the 50-win second-round plateau for three seasons now.
However, it would also be a significant risk, as they are not on the list of three teams (Lakers, Nets and Mavericks) that Howard's agent reportedly told the Magic he would be willing to sign an extension with. If Atlanta dealt Smith and Johnson, there's no guarantee they would have enough talent left to keep Howard from exploring free agency.
Either way, as Smith indicated, the Dwight Howard sweepstakes are unlikely to end anytime soon, meaning the Hawks could find themselves near the center of the NBA world for the time being.
For more news and notes on the Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops.