Could this be another Dwightmare of a summer? It’s quite possible. Dwight Howard is currently not interested in re-signing with the Lakers, however Dwight has the audacity sometimes to change his mind. So, what do we know as of this second?
-Dwight is not interested in re-signing with LA
-Dwight has the Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets as his top 2 teams
-The Atlanta Hawks are a long shot, but are on the table as well
What if Dwight signs with the Mavericks?
The Mavs are an older club and are simply fading away, but still have the talent to get in the playoffs. Dwight Howard has made it known he wants to be “the guy” in terms of the entire team, which if he goes to Dallas, that’s exactly what he’s going to be. Dwight would be the headline of that entire team even if the Mavs are kind of fading away. If he decides to sign with Dallas, the Mavs would have to trade Shaun Marian away to clear up cap space, which should be no problem. The one problem with Dallas is, will they have the pieces to win? Unfortunately for this upcoming season, Dallas would not have the cap space nor surrounding pieces other than an aging Dirk Nowitzki essentially to help on the scoring front for Howard. However, the next season, the Mavericks will have the cap room to start building around Dwight, but just because Dwight is there doesn’t mean other people want to join. If Dwight is willing to be patient and wanting to be the “go to guy”, then Dallas is the place for him. Also, he must be flexible on possibly not winning a championship this upcoming year because I do not believe Dallas will have the supporting cast to win it all and quite possibly might never have it while Howard is there.
What if Dwight signs with Houston?
Houston has to be the most appealing out of all the teams due to their youth and scoring talent. Howard would be a massive upgrade on the defensive end, in which Houston was the 2nd worst team in. Despite the terrible defense, the Rockets were efficient and effective on the offensive side of the ball as they ranked 2nd best in that category. It’s clear if Howard signs, the defense would improve dramatically. Omer Asik was the only true defender on this team and that’s why Howard would upgrade it. Now, I like Omer Asik and honestly for the Rockets sake, I think they should continue with Omer as their starting center. Although Howard is clearly better than Asik, you start to wonder if he can handle a Houston style of offense, which is very similar to the Lakers. This clearly was Dwight’s worst season and so that’s why alarms might set off if Howard comes to Houston because LA and Houston run very similar offenses, which secludes the center position a little bit. The “Run N Gun” is the offense that Houston runs, which is very fast-paced and a very 3-point happy style of offense. Dwight loves having the ball, but in Houston he might expect the same as what he was getting in LA, but Kevin McHale, who was a former big man would be very compensating to try to work something out to induce Howard into this offense. McHale is a much better coach and mentor for Howard then D’Antoni, Carlisle, or Budenholzer because McHale knows what it’s like to be a big man. Houston definitely shows the greenest pastures for Howard.
For Atlanta to sign Howard, Chris Paul would have needed to leave the LA Clippers, which by now as everybody knows, Doc Rivers has been hired as their new head coach. This move should make everybody assume that Chris Paul will remain a Clipper. Atlanta is Howard’s hometown, but Howard is interested in winning titles and unfortunately for the “ATL”, the Hawks do not have the role players nor do they have the established head coach to convince Howard to go there without Paul joining him. It’s possible, but a definite long shot.
For the Lakers, if they cant re-sign Howard, they have to seriously consider doing the sign-and-trade because it would give them the necessary pieces in return for the compensation of Howard. In this particular case, the Lakers would be better off making an agreement with the Rockets over the Mavericks due to the fact that Houston has some pieces that are expendable and young. Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik would be two logical options to be traded to the Lakers for Howard. I think Houston needs to move on from Lin anyway. Asik would be a disappointing option for Houston to let go, but to compensate for Howard, Asik would need to go. Honestly, Asik would be just fine in the D’Antoni system because its all about scoring, scoring, scoring. Asik will be centered around the defensive side of that ball. Scoring for Asik will come in knick knacks in that system, which is okay for him because he is not going to demand the ball like Dwight, and will make for a much better chemistry amongst the team.
If Dwight re-signs with Lakers will offer 5-years/118 million dollars
Every other team can only max out at 4-years/88 million dollars
Unlike California, Texas does not have any state tax nor does it have a millionaires tax. This is something Dwight has to consider even though Dwight is not about the money. After doing the math, the taxes that Howard would be receiving from California would essentially wipe out a bit of his contract and essentially would make it very similar to what Howard would get in Texas on a yearly basis. LA is Hollywood though and the celebrities and size of the market, which is only smaller than New York, would help Dwight’s brand get bigger and bigger and bigger, but it’s clear Dwight does not want to be part of a team that is run by Mike D’Antoni and so I’m going to predict right here that Dwight isn’t returning.
Watch Dwight change his mind and re-sign with the Lakers, just watch! I’m hoping he lives up to what he says on a daily basis, but we can’t really believe that from Dwight. We are in for a wild NBA free agency!
– Richie Boswell