Dwight Howard is unhappy. Have you ever heard that one before? Reports are swirling around that the big man will decline his player option and become a free agent at the end of this season. Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com indicated that Dwight Howard has grown unhappy with playing the role of sidekick to James Harden on the Houston Rockets.
Here’s what he had to say during the team’s current three game road trip (bleacherreport), “I chose to go to Houston (via free agency in the summer of 2013), so why would I just say, ‘I’m not happy’ and leave. I chose this place, you know what I’m saying? And I want to make this thing work here. Obviously we haven’t been playing great basketball, and personally for myself my numbers don’t seem like I’ve been playing great, but the only thing on my mind is trying to grow as a man and grow as a teammate as a leader. All the BS that’s around, sometimes it is frustrating to hear it, because I know who I am as a man and I know what I’m trying to do for this city.”
Dwight Howard has left franchises before, so, why not imagine him going through with this opt out and checking his horizons, because, well he is 30 and wants one more big deal before he’s off to the beach to enjoy his retirement. This article will list the 5 best landing spots, 4 of which are the best landing spots are if he truly wants to be the man and not a sidekick. These teams may not even have any interest in signing him in the offseason but I am just here to speculate. Let’s jump right in and see who could be landing spots for the 30 year old center averaging 12.6ppg and 11.6rpg.
Guys, maybe he is telling the truth. That is a big maybe. Let’s just pretend that this report is false and he has no problem being sidekick to James Harden. Why not stay here and finish what he started like he said. The Rockets were a dangerous team last year, even with Howard missing some time due to injury. They put up 56 wins in a tough Western Conference. Who knows what is really going on with them this year. They seem to lack some sort of leadership. Leadership you will most likely not find with James Harden or Dwight Howard. Obviously, only Dwight Howard knows what Dwight Howard really wants and I am sure money is going to talk, so, if Houston wants him and is going to dish out some money to him, there’s a chance he will stay.
Remember when Dwight Howard wanted to go to the Brooklyn Nets before going to the Houston Rockets? Let’s just be hypothetical here. What if the Nets take him? They’ve been known to take risks that won’t pan out (see Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce for info). They already have Brook Lopez manning the center position but his health risk is scary. What if they decided to trade him away and bring Dwight Howard over to Brooklyn? It’s a move I doubt ever happening but Dwight Howard can get what he wants, or use to want. He wanted to come to Brooklyn a couple years ago and now he gets what he wanted… just a couple years later. Howard will also be the main man here. Who would he play sidekick too? Thaddeus Young? Andre Bargnani? Exactly. Howard would instantly become the biggest name on the team and become the focal point of the team, which we can probably all agree, is what he wants most.
Here is another one I doubt happening but he acquires the same thing as if he went to the Brooklyn Nets, main man status. This young team is on the rise. Just take a second as you are reading this and imagine Isaiah Thomas throwing up alley-oops to Dwight Howard. That would be a sight to see! That would make this team more competitive because Howard can help bring a skill set that the young big men (minus David Lee because he is not young anymore) on the Celtics lack and that is rim protection. He may not be the rim protector he once was but he is still a capable defender. If you are driving the lane and you see Kelly Olynyk/Tyler Zeller in the lane you are not going to be as intimidated as if you see Dwight Howard manning the middle of the lane. Jared Sullinger is a big body but he is by no means a rim protector. I think Dwight Howard on a young Boston Celtics team that likes to run is something very intriguing.
Throw him into the starting lineup of this year and you have Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwight Howard. Do you have a clear cut number one guy? Williams, Matthews, and Parsons are not #1 guys on this offense. Nowitzki is 37 years old and if Howard came next year, he will be 38. Nowitzki cannot be the #1 guy. That leaves, you got it correct, Dwight Howard! Rick Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the league who would figure a way to get Dwight Howard involved in the offense to get his touches. Besides, the Mavericks could use Howard, as their starter was Zaza Pachulia and will eventually be Javale McGee, the Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP. Would you take Zaza or McGee over Howard? McGee has always had the potential but never quite the production you hope for and has given us plenty of head scratching moments on the basketball court. If Howard wants to be the #1 guy and still be competitive, Dallas might be an option to keep his eye out on. Mavericks, I’m sure, would love to get a rim protecting center after letting Tyson Chandler go because they thought they were bringing DeAndre Jordan over. Howard might be a nice consolation price. Plus, that’ll make Houston fans angry if Howard is into that.
The Atlanta Hawks already have a nice foundation of a frontcourt with Paul Millsap stretching the floor at the 4 spot and Al Horford playing at that center spot. A big reason why they brought over Tiago Splitter is because Al Horford is not a true center. Splitter fits the description of a true center better than Horford. Everyone is quite sure Horford prefers the power forward spot more than the center spot. Insert Dwight Howard’s name here. A big reason I picked Atlanta is because Dwight is from Atlanta. Maybe as his career is winding down, he wants to come home. LeBron came home, there are talks of Kevin Durant coming home. Maybe Dwight Howard will come home as well. Imagine, if the salary works and you do not have to get rid of players, a frontcourt starting lineup of Dwight at the 5 and Millsap at the 4 with Horford coming off the bench at the 4 and Splitter playing at the 5. That would be a relentless frontcourt no matter if the starters or the reserves are in. Don’t you think Atlanta fans would welcome Dwight home?
We will just have to stay tuned for what happens but it is always fun to speculate a possible player movement. That is why the trading deadline and the offseason are such fun times for writers that want to talk about what player might be heading where or talk about the team that just acquired this player. Dwight Howard might not be playing like his former self, but it is still a big name and still fun to speculate about where he might end up after this year.