Dwight Howard has been one of the best big men in the NBA for some time now. He has also been one of the biggest headaches for fans at times.
The author of the Dwightmare has been in Orlando, in love with Brooklyn (to which he never got traded to) and in Los Angeles. Well, now the free agency period is about to start and everyone’s favorite big man is now a free agent once again. It was thought that he would re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers and be the next face of their franchise. But, in usual fashion, Howard has not committed to that decision at all. The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks may be after his services this offseason. But how good of a fit would Howard be in these different places?
Mark Cuban has been after a marquee free agent to bring to Dallas since he gutted the team after their championship season. He struck out trying to get point guard Deron Williams last summer and now he has set his sights on trying to get Dwight to come to town. It is being reported that the Mavericks are so interested in trying to bring Howard there that they have thought of trading the 13th pick in the upcoming NBA Draft for more cap space to obtain him. And looking at the Mavs roster, Howard may be just one of the pieces that they could add.
The Mavericks had a bunch of players that had expiring contracts this offseason. Howard could conceivably come in and be paired with Dirk Nowitzki and potentially a new point guard. With Dirk and Howard together, Dwight would get one-on-one matchups in the paint due to Dirk pulling opposing team’s power forwards out of the paint. But the question still remains as to what kind of point guard they could get. If they were able to get a guy like Brandon Jennings, Howard would not be able to get the touches that he wanted. But if the Mavericks were somehow able to get Chris Paul (unlikely) then Paul would make Howard look really good. It should be interesting to see how that whole situation plans out down there.
But just like Dallas, the Houston Rockets are after the services of Dwight Howard. The Rockets have been craving a superstar for some time now. They currently have a budding superstar in James Harden, but they lack that other superstar to go with him. They thought that Jeremy Lin would be a good point guard to go with Harden, but both need the basketball to be effective and Lin is going to lose that battle to Harden every single time. Asik is a good big man and did well last season (10.1 points per game, 11.7 rebounds per game), but he was not a guy that could give you superstar-type numbers in the paint.
Dwight is the superstar that they covet in the paint. He could command attention from defenses and make Harden even more dangerous than he is now. But let’s be honest, Dwight does not have the best post game out there. His athleticism covers up a lot of the inconsistencies that he has on the offensive end. Also, if the Rockets sign Dwight, what do you do with Asik? Howard and Asik could not start together on the court because both are limited offensively. You could put Asik on the bench, but do you really want to bring a high-priced big man off the bench? Lastly, having Asik and Howard along with Lin and Harden would damage any kind of flexibility they would have with the salary cap. In my opinion, Houston would have to get rid of Asik to obtain Howard and that could be a pretty difficult task for them.
The Atlanta Hawks could be one of the biggest wildcards in this whole equation. Atlanta got rid of Joe Johnson last offseason and this offseason forward Josh Smith and players like forward Kyle Korver fall off the cap. It is not expected that Smith will be back in Atlanta, so that opens up a ton of salary cap space for the Hawks.
They could conceivably sign two players to max contracts. Howard, an Atlanta native, would be welcomed with open arms to the city he once called home. And not only would he be there, they would also be able to bring in another superstar besides him and still have money to add to this team. Another thing that is intriguing there is the head coaching position. The Hawks are looking to move on from the Larry Drew era and with Danny Ferry running the ship, the Hawks are poised to get better and build to contend. But let’s be honest, it is still the Atlanta Hawks. The franchise has not had very much success outside of the Dikembe Mutumbo/Steve Smith era. To expect Howard to come in and turn it around would be a tall order for a man who has struggled in pressure situations for the most part.
All three of the places could be the final destination for Howard, but there is still the possibility he could re-sign in Los Angeles too. The Lakers can offer him more money and one more guaranteed year on his contract. They have shown in the past they will do whatever it takes to achieve championship levels. He has a big man that can make him better in Pau Gasol and if they can keep everything afloat without Kobe, there is potential for some success if D’Antoni uses the pieces he has to his advantage. But, after the reported unhappiness with D’Antoni and his system, it may be a choice of Dwight or D’Antoni. And if D’Antoni is there, it could be a quick ending to the Dwight Howard era in Los Angels.
So the Dwightmare has begun again. He has his choices on the table and a career-altering move potentially on the horizon. And just as much as his potential landing spot is on the minds of fans, it is definitely weighing on the mind of Dwight. We all know that he could change his mind at the drop of a hat, so we shall see what happens. But one thing is guaranteed: this should be interesting.
*Please note: The content and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of, nor are they endorsed by FreesWorld.com.