Just a few weeks ago, the Atlanta Hawks were considering shaking up their roster by putting All-Star Paul Millsap on the trading block. Atlanta ultimately decided to keep Millsap but the Hawks did make one move, trading Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers for essentially Mike Dunleavy and a first-round pick.
Millsap and Korver weren't the only players the Hawks were considering trading. Thabo Sefolosha was rumored to be on the trading block, and, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Atlanta was also thinking about trading Dwight Howard, who they just signed in the offseason.
But they haven't committed to staying small, and sticking [Anthony] Davis at center. They worry about the physical toll it would take, and fretted after Davis picked up two quick fouls jostling with Dwight Howard two weeks ago. In the days that followed, Atlanta and New Orleans had exploratory talks about possible Howard trades before the Hawks pulled everyone off the market, according to several league sources. It is unclear how interested New Orleans was, and there was not unanimous support within the team for acquiring Howard.
Teams have exploratory talks from time to time, so this shouldn't be viewed as the Hawks wanting to part ways with Howard. Atlanta and New Orleans simply had a chat, and as Lowe notes, the Pelicans may not have even been that serious about acquiring Howard in the first place.
But the idea that the Pelicans were thinking about trading for Howard is interesting. They do need to upgrade at center since Omer Asik is just not getting the job done. Anthony Davis has excelled while playing at that position, but since he's the Pelicans' main star you can understand their angst with him at the 5 spot due to the wear and tear incurred by going up against bigger players.
Howard would definitely be an upgrade over Asik and if he was playing alongside Davis, the Pelicans would be incredibly tough to score on in the paint. And Howard has played well with the Hawks, remaining healthy and not demanding a larger offensive role on the team. But overall, he just doesn't seem to be a good fit for the Pelicans, especially since coach Alvin Gentry wants to have a free flowing offense.
The Pelicans seem to have realized this, which is why their talks with Atlanta never got past the exploratory phase. But it does seem like the Pelicans want to make a change at center, which may help them as they try to move up the standings and secure the eighth seed in the West.