Silva: Howard-to-Chicago rumors are senseless

CHICAGO — Fresh off last night’s 14-point beatdown of the Orlando Magic — on the road, no less — can someone please tell me why the Chicago Bulls should jeopardize everything they have going right now by trying to trade for center Dwight Howard?

Lest we forget, the Bulls won a league-best 62 games last season, had the youngest MVP in league history, saw their first-year head coach win Coach of the Year, were the league’s top defensive team and went on a playoff run that saw them reach the Eastern Conference finals.

When basketball resumed following the end of the lockout, the Bulls upgraded the shooting guard position with Richard Hamilton, entered training camp with the majority of last year’s team intact and healthy, and were considered to be in a better position to dethrone the Heat atop the East.

Over the years, Chicago’s front office has been methodical in getting bad, fat contracts off the books, assembling a strong supporting cast around Derrick Rose and has gotten everyone on the same page.

So explain why the Howard gamble would make sense? A legitimate championship contender doesn’t need to make wholesale changes or a chemistry experiment, and Howard represents just that.

Plus, unless he were to indicate otherwise, he’d be a rental.

How and why Howard’s name has been linked to the Bulls, and where the rumor even originated, is unbeknownst to me. Howard has made it clear that he would like to be traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers or New Jersey Nets. He has not mentioned the Bulls, nor did he address the situation before the Bulls’ game in Orlando. While anything is possible, in this digital day and age the Howard-to-Chicago speculation seems to be nothing more than a eye-catchy headline or good water cooler talk based off some daydreamer throwing stuff against the wall with the hopes that something sticks.

What kind of legs does this ridiculous speculation have? Not even ESPN’s on-air talent broached the possibility of a Howard-to-Chicago trade on Friday night’s broadcast.

If I’m completely off base here and the rumor becomes reality, then so be it.

But I say let’s squash it right here and now. I’m not a big fan of hypotheticals to begin with.

To me, it’s just not worth forking over so much talent to get Howard. The rumor out there has the Bulls shipping some combination of draft picks, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Omer Asik and Taj Gibson to Orlando.

“We’re not talking trades,” Howard told reporters in Florida on Thursday when asked about his interest in the Bulls.

The Bulls don’t need another superstar. They have one in Rose. This is his team. His teammates respect him. He’s a beloved son to Chicago. The Bulls needed someone to help alleviate the pressure and scoring load from Rose, which the ESPN NBA pre-game crew thinks – and I’m in agreement with – the team accomplished with the acquisition of Hamilton. If anything, the Bulls might need little more than a more experienced backup center.

They don’t need a new starting center, especially a guy whose ego and personality are bigger than Disneyland, a player who donned a cape when he was in dunk contests and has the Superman theme song play after each time he scores.

To me, that doesn’t seem to fit the Bulls’ culture. Now, I’m not going to knock Howard as a person because I don’t know him. I’m sure he’s a good guy deep down inside, but perception is reality. Sure, the way Howard plays defense is a coach’s dream, but at what expense?

Let’s take a brief look at the players who have been associated with this trade rumor:

Deng: A key cog, and if he keeps up his current pace he should be on the All-Star team. Deng is the team’s unsung hero who brings a lot with his inside-out game and ability to defend at a high level. He’s too important. Find another player on the Bulls roster who can play three positions. You can’t.

Noah: Teammates feed off his passion, and the Bulls starting center does all the intangibles. Sure, he can be loud and outspoken, but he’s not disruptive. A career 51.4 percent shooter from the field, he’s efficient with his touches and, in my opinion, proves the Bulls don’t need an offensive-minded starting center.

Gibson: Still coming into his own, he’s a serviceable defensive presence on the second unit who has upside on both ends of the floor. The third-year player was a great late first-round find.

Asik: A second-year player who still has a lot of developing to do. He came into camp healthy and remains a defense-first player. By the end of this season, when he’ll be up for a contract extension, he’ll have had more time to develop in order to make an informed opinion on where he might fit in for the immediate future.

In case any delusional Bulls fans who really want Howard on the roster are reading this and disagreeing, just remember this: Chicago already was the league’s top defensive team without Howard. And they’re also title contenders without him.

ESPN studio analyst Jon Barry said something on Friday that I found myself nodding in agreement with:

“The Chicago Bulls are going to be better than last year – that much we can guarantee,” Barry said.

And he said it regarding the Bulls’ roster as it stands today.

Chris Silva, former Pistons beat writer for the Detroit Free Press and Kevin Durant’s de facto biographer for, covers the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for Follow him on Twitter at @silvawriter or email him at



  1. says

    Most of the Howard-Bulls talk is centered around what should be and not what “will be.” Half of this article is devoted to debunking something that isn’t even there. If anything, most of the articles and columns that I’ve read rhetorically wonder why Howard wouldn’t want to go to Chicago.

    As for the second part of the article, despite a 62-win season and an upgrade at the guard spot, these Chicago Bulls will not defeat the Heat in a 7 game series. There is not enough scoring help for Rose, this is a fact. If you’ve been watching them play, and hopefully you have otherwise this article is merely speculation (which you’ve stated you hate), you will have noticed that they have the ability to make runs only to see them disappear. This leads to 4th quarters riddled with Derrick Rose drives, where he is forced to bail them out because NO ONE but Deng is actually contributing offensively.

    That the chemistry of a winning team is put on jeopardy in hopes of landing a superstar is at stake here is a myopic view of the situation. Instead, the focus should be on WHY Dwight Howard doesn’t want t come to Chicago and team up with Rose for a serious stab at multiple championships in the future.


  2. Eric says

    “What kind of legs does this ridiculous speculation have? Not even ESPN’s on-air talent broached the possibility of a Howard-to-Chicago trade on Friday night’s broadcast.” Otis Smith and Dwight Howard have invited every possible sort of rumor by having a public conversation about this matter to begin with. They should have initially, and should right now, shut their mouths regarding anything trade related. But they opened pandoras box to begin with and now have to deal with the consequences. The fact that you are so vehemently shocked by all of this is interesting. The nba is where rumors happen.

  3. Patrick says

    The only problem with getting Howard might be Magic will demand that you take Turkoglu which means you have to include Deng in the trade. That downgrade could kill the upgrade you get moving from Noah to Howard. You might be able to live with this if Howard stays but if he doesn’t then you can’t do the trade. If the trade doesn’t have to include Turkoglu and Deng then the Bulls should do it.

  4. Sharvil says

    You trade for Howard because the Bulls core has accomplished nothing. When ever you have a chance to get the best center in the league and a top-5 player you do it. Point guard and center are the two most important positions in the NBA, and Rose and Howard you have an unstoppable inside-out game. Getting Howard, allows you to make up for the defensive and offensive loss you give up in a trade of Noah, Gibson, Deng etc. Everyone questioned what the Heat were doing when they scarficed depth for talent, and they made the finals. Depth does not matter in the playoffs, there are many days to rest your players and you can play your starters 40+ mintues a night. You are completely dimishing Howard’s contributions, he is a defensive force and he can still score 20-25 points a night. And if the Bulls win the championship with him, it would be hard for him to walk away, and if he does, who cares we just won the title! Everyone loves the Bulls because they are a humble hard working team, but they are still not better than the Heat, Howard would give them a chance to do that. Talent will always trump grit in the Nba. I would rather have 2 stars than one star and a bunch of good player + role players.

    • Patrick says

      This is Derrick’s fourth year and the Bulls have made the playoffs each year he had played with Vinny Del Nergo coaching the first two years. The Bulls added Boozer and Thibodeau last year and made the Conf Finals. I think this core had accomplished something in the short time that it has been around.

  5. Roger S. says

    I agree 100% with Chris’ comment above. The Heat will also be better this year so Jon Barry’s point is moot. The bulls would be a much better team by getting Howard. With that said, I wouldn’t give up all the players mentioned above to get him. A combination of 2 of the above and draft picks I feel is fair enough. Besides, orlando doesn’t have much leverage in this situation anyways. Rose is great but he won’t be able to get past the Heat without a second superstar. One that commands a double or triple team in the paint, is just what Rose needs.

    • Gloria says

      I would like to trade Asik, Gibson + draft picks, but maybe it wouldn’t be enough, so I guess Noah, Gibson + draft picks is the best option. I must admit, I wouldn’t like to see Deng in that combination, he is really good this season.

  6. steve says

    I’m kinda split. I’m a Bulls fan but I’m not sure they have the scoring to beat Miami. Although some key players shrunk in that playoff series like Boozer, Noah and Korver. May be things could be different this time around. Who knows.

    As far as Howard and the Bulls, I don’t like his goofy act thats kinda off putting.

    Still you have to make the deal if it’s there for them.

  7. says

    Chris (great name by the way), I was covering the Bulls playoffs, in Chicago, last season.
    Yes, they got there by winning 62 games, yes they had the season MVP on the roster, yes they had the Coach of the Year, and yes the Bulls are actually a very good (defensive) team.
    But until I someone else than Deng can help alleviate the pressure and scoring load from Rose when it really matters – and no I do not see Boozer up to this challenge – I won’t buy the “they are going to be better and that should be enough to beat the Heat”. Everything should be solved just because they got Rip and the rest of them is going to be better ?! Yeah right… It may be a bet to get rid of Noah, Asik, Gibson + draft picks, or any kind of combination, but Howard is this second offense option, every night, Noah/Boozer/RIP are not, and won’t be this season neither.
    Am I the only Bulls fan who is not buying this team will beat the Heat in a 7 games series ? “The Chicago Bulls are going to be better than last year – that much we can guarantee,” Barry said. Guess what Barry: The Miami Heat are going to be better than last year, also.

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