Tuck: Best Chance For Dwight Howard To Win A Title
PG Steve Nash
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Metta World Peace
PF Pau Gasol
C Dwight Howard
If the Lakers resign him, this is what a healthy playoff lineup would look like. The oft-injured Lakers won only 45 games last year, but did manage the 4th best record in the NBA over the second half of the season as they got healthier and gelled. In 2014 only Dwight and Nash would currently be under contract allowing the Lakers to pursue whomever they see fit in free agency in addition to resigning Kobe.
PG Jeremy Lin
SG James Harden
SF Chandler Parsons
PF Greg Smith
Plenty of speculation that the roster could change if they land Dwight Howard, with Lin and C Omer Asik potentially on the move. Currently they only have a couple of youngsters outside of the group you see. They'd have no money to spend in free agency other than the middle-level exception and veteran exception deals.
PG Shane Larkin
SG Vince Carter
SF Shaun Marion
PF Dirk Nowitzki
As of right now, the Mavs only have 5 guaranteed contracts on their roster so they have a lot to do, but if they signed Dwight Howard would only have minimum deals to fill out the roster barring trades. But only Larkin would be under contract with Dwight in 2014 and Dirk has already said he'll play for a tiny salary so they could go out and sign more players.
SG Lou Williams
SF DeShawn Stevenson
PF Al Horford
The Hawks are almost impossible to figure right now. Teague is a restricted free agent who they could bring back or pursue another point guard. Even after they sign Dwight, they'd have another $20+ million to spend, perhaps resigning Josh Smith or adding multiple other players.
PG Stephen Curry
SG Klay Thompson
SF Draymond Green
PF David Lee
The Warriors can't sign Dwight Howard, but can trade for him. Dwight showed enough interest to meet with them so they are listed. I formulate a C Andrew Bogut (expiring deal) and SF Harrison Barnes deal tempting the Lakers if Dwight demands out. The Lakers would keep their cap space for next year and add a young, clearly up-and-coming player for their troubles. Thompson instead of Barnes is also an option, but with Kobe at shooting guard I assume they go with the younger, more lineup friendly Barnes. The Warriors would have only a little money under the cap for next summer as it would sit currently.
Read that all again, and you tell me which situation is most title friendly? I think LA and Dallas clearly stand above the rest. The Lakers would have the best roster on paper this year, but health is a major concern. Both the Lakers and Mavs could build powerful teams around Dwight and their returning franchise players with the money they'll have to spend in 2014.
Atlanta will have money to play with, but it's less clear if they can construct a strong enough team around Dwight Howard. The Warriors would have a pretty potent lineup, but losing either Barnes or Thompson in the transaction hurts, even if it is the necessary and correct move. They'd be good, but not sure they'd be a title team.
Lastly, for all the hype surrounding Houston, I actually think they give him the worst roster. I love James Harden, but they'd have to get creative with Lin and/or Asik in a trade just to balance out the roster better. They have 3 options at power forward right now, and none of them excite me. Parsons will have to be paid after next year, and they are already up and over the cap so adding other players won't be easy. If Josh Smith is their answer for a 3rdsuperstarthen I have major reservations about the Rockets being anything more than just another good team out West.
Certainly this decision is about more than just winning a title, as much as that makes all fans angry. Happiness in life, with city, with neighborhood, with teammates and coaches matter too. Money matters, and security matters. Many other little things add up too. But I just wanted to lay out what the odds of winning look like based on the lineups and rosters Dwight Howard would be joining.
You decide which team gives him the best chance to win a title.