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updated: 1/31/2012 7:27 PM

Howard says God will tell him where to play

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Finally, a breakthrough in the previously nonexistent relationship between Dwight Howard and the Bulls.

Howard hasn't included the Bulls on the original list of teams he would like to play for -- the Nets, Mavericks and Clippers.

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However, Howard recently was quoted saying, "If I could play with Derrick Rose right now and God wanted that to happen, it will happen."

Howard's nod toward Rose adds the Bulls remotely, tangentially, peripherally to the mix of possible destinations.

Not only did Howard reference playing with Rose, the Bulls' point guard reportedly referenced playing with the current Magic center.

"Who wouldn't want to play with him?" Rose said of Howard.

This is progress. Howard and Rose are friends and endorse the same shoe company but Howard hadn't expressed interest in playing for the Bulls or Rose in playing with Howard.

But the real breakthrough was Howard invoking the name of a third party into the situation: God.

Howard's comment was, "If ... God wanted it to happen, it will happen."

Neither Tim Tebow nor Reggie White could have said it better.

When White was an NFL free agent nearly two decades ago, he signed with the Packers and indicated that was where God wanted him to be.

Does Chicago have a snowball's chance in, uh, the NBA of being where God wants Dwight Howard to be?

It's a little early to tell whether anybody would want any God-loving person to relocate in a city -- to say nothing of a state and county -- with such a history of corruption and organized crime.

But it's possible that God intends to send Howard, whose nickname is Superman, to descend and rescue some community from evildoers.

Howard is a big man with big shoulders, so the City of Big Shoulders would seem to be a perfect fit.

To be honest, neither I nor anyone else has any idea what God's playbook calls for Dwight Howard to do.

So far He has whispered in Howard's ear to lean toward staying in Orlando, then to go to Los Angeles, then to go to New Jersey/New York.

However, speculation also has been that His list is fluid and possible destinations include the Celtics, Lakers, Knicks, Bakersfield Jam, Benetton Treviso and Texas-Pan American.

Perhaps He isn't just whispering into Howard's ear. Perhaps He's getting into his head. God does have a sense of humor, you know, or there would be no explanation for the Cubs' 103-year slump.

Rose has been reluctant to contact Howard and campaign for the big guy -- the mortal big guy, that is -- to consider the Bulls.

This could be because Rose doesn't want to slight his Bulls' teammates; or because Howard told him he wants a team to call his own; or because Rose wants the Bulls to remain his own.

(Rose didn't try to convince LeBron James to join the Bulls, either, so maybe he really doesn't want to share his fiefdom.)

Anyway, things have changed. Rose couldn't possibly resist placing an exploratory call this time, could he?

Not a phone call to Howard. A prayer call to the real Big Guy in the real Big Sky:

"Dear God, I know you don't care who wins basketball games, but if You have time please deliver Dwight to Chicago and if it isn't asking too much please don't let me miss anymore free throws at the end of games. Thanks."

Hey, a little divine intervention couldn't hurt.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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