Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 3/10/12

The Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets are still the three preferred destinations for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard if the team decides to trade him.

But while Howard would prefer to go to one of those places, Orlando could end up shipping him to another team if they get a better package in return.

Could Dwight Howard end up in Atlanta? (Photo by Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA via Wikimedia Commons) Could Dwight Howard Go Back Home To Atlanta?

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets remain interested in the six-time All-Star, while another possible suitor is the Atlanta Hawks. Howard grew up in Atlanta and went to Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in high school.

The Hawks are already trying to deal with Josh Smith’s trade request and are in the market for trade partners. Oddly enough, Smith and Howard played AAU ball together in high school (think that team was any good?), so it would be an interesting story if they were traded for one another.

But if the Magic could land Smith and Al Horford in exchange for Howard, that would probably represent the best deal they could get for the big man league-wide. On the other side of things, such a deal would make the Hawks instant contenders in the Eastern Conference and if any team not on Howard’s list has a chance to convince him to sign an extension it is his hometown squad.

The problem with such a deal would be the gigantic risk Atlanta would be taking since they could lose Howard via free agency and then be without Smith and Horford as well.

Again this is all speculation but as we approach the NBA’s March 15 deadline, the rumors surrounding Howard are sure to come fast and furious. And as that date nears the Magic are likely to expand their horizons beyond their 26-year-old superstar’s preferred landing spots. After all, the team has to get something in return for him.

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