And win big.
If he's leaving Orlando — and although he hasn't publicly declared it, most think he's history — Dwight needs to put himself in position to capture a title.
This requirement must zoom to the top of his priorities.
No one is totally convinced that winning a championship is No. 1 to him. Howard talks about it a lot. But his actions, from his trade-demand list to the ensuing drama to his leadership, say otherwise.
The Magic, privately, have their doubts.
Howard helped plant the seeds with his desire to join New Jersey last season while balking at being dealt to the L.A. Lakers.
Skeptics scoffed at why he limited his trade scenarios to, basically, one team — the lowly Nets — and didn't include more contending cities.
Howard was being lured by the New York market (the Nets are moving to Brooklyn this season) to capitalize on his brand and become a larger celeb.
Howard turned down the control needed to jump on that opportunity. It didn't matter whether the Magic were going to trade him to the Lakers or the Houston Rockets or elsewhere. He could have gone somewhere as a rental and become a free agent his summer, bound for the Nets.
Instead, he opted in to play next season in Orlando, a baffling decision.
Things might have changed. Remember when Deron Williams was waiting on Dwight to join him in New Jersey? Now Dwight could be waiting on Williams, who will be a free agent this summer.
Without Williams re-signing with the Nets, how can Howard justify heading to Brooklyn by his lonesome? He might be dying to leave Orlando, but that gets us back to our original premise.
Dwight needs to align himself with a winner to clear his name. He'll win less in Brooklyn than in Orlando without Williams.
I don't think he has any other choice but to expand his trade list — or reluctantly follow Shaq's path to the Lakers. Why not make the Clippers an option? Dwight is practically an L.A. resident.
The Bulls and Thunder have pieces to work a trade for him. They win. You win, Dwight.
The Knicks? They're on the biggest stage, but they're a flawed team. Howard would have a shot with Carmelo Anthony, although a Tyson Chandler package is not a great deal for the Magic.