The Oklahoma City Thunder are the latest team to be included in the Dwight Howard trade talks, but as with every team to this point, the price to rent, even for such a superstar, is much too high. The Magic Insider is reporting that the teams have talked to discuss Howard, but there doesn't seem to be much traction in the rumors given that the asking price was Serge Ibaka and James Harden.
Ibaka is a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Only 22-years-old, Ibaka is blossoming in his third season in the NBA and is averaging 3.2 blocks per game. That's almost one full block above his league-leading 2.4 average last season. He's also averaging 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as well.
As for Harden, he's a good bet for Sixth Man of the Year award and is finally turning into the player the Thunder hoped he would when they made him the third overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. He's also only 22 and is averaging a career high 16.8 points per game with 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He's also shooting at a career high rate on his field goal and free throw percentages as well.
Howard is a franchise defining talent and would certainly make the Thunder the runaway favorite for the NBA title. But once that was over, Howard is likely headed to a team like the Mavericks as a free agent and the Thunder would be left with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and nothing else for the next few years. It's too high of a price to pay for such a short window of opportunity when the Thunder might just win the crown this year without giving anything up at all.