6 Teams That Make Sense-ish for Free Agent Dwight Howard
Ahhh, yes, Superman! Well, Dwight Howard hasn’t really been Superman since his dominant days near Disney World. Now, after four sordid seasons with the Houston Rockets and L.A. Lakers, he’s about to be a free agent again for the second time in three years (well, technically, 2016-17 is a player-option year, but it’s assumed, he’s gone).
It’s tough to blame Howard too much for his drop in production, considering he basically became second banana to both Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
Looking back at his last season with the Magic, Howard averaged a league-leading 14.5 rebounds per game, and 20.6 points per game. In the four seasons since, he hasn’t averaged more than 12.4 rebounds in any season (11.8 this year), and he hasn’t scored more than 18.5 PPG in any year (just 13.7 PPG this season).
Here’s the mind-blowing part – he just turned 30 years old in December!
Big centers with skills, and no discernible foot problems, can last a long time in the NBA, so let’s not assume this last contract is his final one. It is very likely his final max contract, though, as he still remains one of the best low-post weapons in the league.
Our aim is to track down six NBA teams we think would make sense for free agent Dwight Howard to sign with this summer.
Free Agent Dwight Howard and 6 Teams That Make Sense
There might be some salary issues to push through, and some teams might have to send personnel elsewhere for a Howard fit to make sense.
Probably a longshot, considering they are bulky up front already, and they could choose to re-sign current center Al Horford. But Howard is from Atlanta, and Horford is smallish at best at the position, so there’s some sense to make out of this plan. Plus, you have to figure both Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver would love this news – although, Paul Millsap might see a clogged lane more often than not.
The jilted DeAndre Jordan losers from last summer would love to land Howard, but rumors are, they’re not willing to pay for a max contract for the 11-year veteran, according to Fox Sports. Placing him next to Dirk Nowitzki, who’s running out of time looking for a second ring, would make the Mavs a player in the Western Conference once again.
While the Bucks bringing in C Greg Monroe last summer would seem to make them non-matches for Howard, but Monroe might work better as a power forward with Howard alongside him. Monroe has a decent mid-range shot and would be able to spread the floor a bit, while players like Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker show off their athleticism.
Shaquille O’Neal, the other superstar Magic center that left for greener pastures thinks Howard should return to the Magic Kingdom. (To be fair, Howard was traded away just before his big free-agent year, but there was little doubt he was leaving, too.) Unfortunately, the Magic already have a very good center of their own in Nikola Vucevic (a player they got in the Howard trade four years ago). They’d likely have to move him in a big deal, which could bring them back a shooter or a power forward, allowing Aaron Gordon to move over to small forward. Three good guards (Evan Fournier, Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton), along with a developing Mario Hezonja and Gordon, makes this a stellar young team for Howard to work with. How can they make that salary fit, though?
Oklahoma City Thunder
If Kevin Durant leaves, as expected, then that leaves a huge hole in their lineup, with Russell Westbrook running things on his own in the backcourt. Howard could be the perfect complement to a scoring point guard like Westbrook, who is also going to be a free agent after next season. Signing Howard could very well keep Russell in town. But what if he leaves, too – then D-12 is just stuck in Oklahoma City.
The Blazers lost LaMarcus Aldridge this past offseason, but C.J. McCollum turned into one of the best breakout stars of the 2015-16 NBA season. With Damian Lillard already on board, the Blazers could boast one of the best inside/outside games in the league with Howard in town. They’ll just need to work on the middle of that lineup.
Well, not counting the Houston Rockets, that leaves just 23 other teams for free agent Dwight Howard to consider! Is there one I missed?
Dwight Howard Photo Credit: Mike Young, Getty Images
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Betting Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.