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NBA Trade Rumors: Chris Paul Reportedly "Reached Out" to Dwight Howard, Wants to Team With Him

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New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul "reached out" to Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard in order to encourage him "to find a way for the two to play together," reports Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, citing sources. Paul, Spears says, has requested a trade to the New York Knicks via his agent, though it's doubtful the Knicks would be able to acquire both him and Howard.

Both players can become free agents in the summer of 2012, and thus have some leverage over their current teams in dictating to which destinations they'd like to be traded; by making clear through their agents they will not re-sign with a given team if traded there, they can dramatically narrow their list of potential suitors. Paul is close with Knicks stars Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, while Howard has publicly expressed an interest in playing in a market larger than Orlando's.

What's unclear is if Howard could successfully convince Paul to join him in Orlando, instead of joining him elsewhere. To obtain Paul via trade or free agency, the Magic would need to gut their roster in order to clear salary-cap space; Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has previously outlined ways the Magic could do that.

Pairing Paul and Howard would give whichever team that lands them the league's best players at arguably the two most important positions on the court. Paul, a four-time All-Star and runner-up to Kobe Bryant for Most Valuable Player honors in 2007-08, averaged 15.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and a league-leading 2.4 steals in 2010-11. Most recently, Howard captured his third straight Defensive Player of the Year Award and added 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks.