The long, melodramatic soap opera that is Dwight Howard’s career these last few seasons begins its next chapter this summer when the Lakers center becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Howard is expected to be interested in the usual suspects: the Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks and his hometown Hawks. And now, according to the LA Daily News, another team is now interestingly in the mix:
A source familiar with Howard’s thinking says he plans to test free agency and has considered the Lakers, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Golden State.
Nothing remains binding, though. The source added Howard’s main concern involves “what team he feels has the best chance to win championships, has the best team and system around him.” The source also stressed Howard has not and will not ask the Lakers to make any moves on his behalf.
Oh. Well, this certainly is an interesting, albeit the least bit surprising, development. Howard has proven to be a frontrunner, as we all learned from news report after news report throughout what proved to be his flip-flopping, slow and painful eventual exit from Orlando. The Warriors showed this postseason they’re on the come up. So, of course Dwight Howard wants to call shotgun on that bandwagon.
Once upon a time, in the middle of Howard’s Jerry Springer episode with the Magic, the Warriors were really high on him. So high they were reportedly willing to part with Stephen Curry even if it would end up being just a one-year rental on Howard. The word “high” can have multiple meanings there.
So, do the Warriors still want Howard? It depends how interested they are in a center who is overrated on offense, might be a better foul shooter blindfolded, injury prone, obscenely expensive, has a bad attitude, has the reputation of being a malcontent in the locker room and underachieved in L.A. this season.
WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
Howard, who has been and can be one of the premier players in the NBA on the defensive end, is surely to receive a max contract this summer, regardless of where he goes. His landing spot does matter, however, when you get into the financials. The Lakers can give him the most years and money. Dwight’s looking at five years, $118 million if he stays in L.A. If he went elsewhere he’s seeing four years, $87.6 million.
Obviously the Warriors can’t give him that kind of scratch. If the Warriors are indeed reciprocal in the interest and want him on the team, they’d have to execute a sign-and-trade. And in such a deal, they’d probably have to part with Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes and some other filler piece (Draymond Green? Festus Ezeli?). Would the Warriors be down for that? We’d like to think not. Sure, Bogut, with his shaky health, is a huge gamble at this point, but the promise Klay and Barnes have shown makes it tough to jettison them elsewhere.
Joe Lacob was once desperate to make Dwight Howard a Warrior. But after all that’s happened the last year separately with Warriors and Howard, is that interest still lingering? God, let’s hope not.