As we know, nobody does as many pretend trades as the Houston Rockets Daryl Morey. He's (seemingly) in everything!
The Rockets' willingness to trade for Howard -- even without the All-Star center's signature on a contract extension -- is an open secret around the league. But it's believed that two top-eight picks, assuming Houston managed to complete trades with both Sacramento and Toronto, would seriously pique the interest of new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, who could then quickly start following the same sort of roster-building blueprint relied on by his previous employers in Oklahoma City.
As we know, the Bulls have soured on trading for Howard in the past without guarantee of an extension.
But why not try to do so now? They're willing to punt Deng and Noah for flexibility while Rose rehabs anyway. Could they just do so for Howard and do some actual selling in trying to get him to stay with this major-market, storied franchise (that's in a cold city, yes). If he leaves, they have the flexibility anyway.
Will this never happen because they're cheap and it costs too much up-front cash? Yes. Yes that's the reason it's not even considered. But *I* can consider it, so screw them.
Here's your task: it looks like using Toronto (#8) and Sacramento (#5) makes the most sense because they're reportedly willing to take veterans for the picks, and have the cap space to absorb contracts. Make a 4 team trade between the Bulls, Magic, Kings, and Raptors to where it's a good enough package for Orlando to take for their superstar.
This means the Bulls taking in a lot of salary, but I'll allow it for this exercise assuming they're trying to win in any way possible, not in the Gar Paxdorf way possible.
Magic shed the contracts of Turkoglu and Duhon (I think worst part is Duhon as a Bull, yuck), they can cut Brewer immediately, and Garcia after next season. They're getting #5, #8, and a choice of Bulls assets (#29, Charlotte Pick, whatever). Calderon is expiring and lessens pressure to re-sign Jameer Nelson, and could be flipped at the deadline. They may want something a bit more certain though, too bad they didn't trade Asik last year, whoops. If you can work in Tyreke Evans and have the Kings still do it, be my guest.
Raptors may have to be confident they get a PG outside of Jerryd Bayless, but I think they look ok in getting two wings here. Or they can cut Korver if they want.
Kings get a pretty ideal big complement to DeMarcus Cousins. They're taking on money but it's a pretty good contract and they're actually often threatening with the salary floor instead of cap.
Bulls get Dwight 'freaking' Howard. They keep Watson as starting PG or backup to a FA point they'd sign.
If Howard leaves because the Bulls are a joke of a franchise, they cut Turk ($6m guaranteed), Duhon ($1.5m), Rip ($1m), amnesty Boozer, and start over with a sulking Rose in 2013-14 which for some sick reason they may want to do anyway. It's possible they get Howard to sign an extension and the Bulls superteam era can begin and little else matters.