Maybe Dwight Howard was envious of all the attention LeBron James got three years ago, so he decided he’ll have his own mini-decision, letting everyone know that the date on which he’ll announce his choice for his next team will be on July 10, with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets the three possible options.
Dwight Howard isn’t going to get any more unpopular on a national level. He’s already blamed for decimating one franchise by his decisions (the Orlando Magic), while playing next to Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t do his reputation any good, even if everything bad that happened last season in Los Angeles had a lot more to do with injuries, bad coaching and a terrible job in building the team.
But Howard was an easy man to pin the blame on. Southern California in infatuated with Bryant, so it wasn’t going to be his fault. It was always easier to blame Howard, playing with a less than healthy back and shoulder, for the chemistry not being at a perfect level and for the Lakers grossly underachieving.
So it’s no wonder that despite the Lakers filling the city with huge banners calling Howard to stay, he isn’t too inclined to sign on for another five years. Not with Mike D’Antony on the sidelines, and not with their cap situation being horrible, meaning things aren’t likely to be much better than they were last season.
So what are the options for Howard? While there are several teams around the league with sufficient cap space to take him on, the only two options that seem likely are in Texas, the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets.
The Mavs are using their superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, to try and recruit Howard. The Mavs’ plan is for Dirk to take a paycut, add a star player and by the end of next season, gear themselves up for another title run, hoping something of the rich bounty from the 2014 free agency class falls their way.
I reached out to him and told him we’d love to have him. It’s not like we call each other every day. I didn’t write him a letter. We just had a little phone contact. That’s about it. To me, when he’s healthy he’s the most dominant big man in the league. He’s shown that at the end of the season when he was right what he can still do. He can dominate on both ends of the floor if he feels healthy, he can still use his athleticism. He’s a beast on both ends of the floor.
But if it’s about chances to win now, the Houston Rockets are the easy choice. They made the postseason last year, and with Howard on board, it’s not only about having a young and promising lineup, with a decent and improving bench: They’ll have to stars like James Harden and Howard playing together. Despite all of the criticism against Howard, his presence on any team makes them good enough to reach the postseason, and upgrades those already there to possible title contenders.
The factors are his chances to win and playing in a system that suits him. The Mavericks have been about Dirk Nowitzki for over a decade, but times are changing. The Houston Rockets can move on from James Harden to other things if it means keeping Howard happy. The Lakers? As long as Bryant is there, changes aren’t likely to happen. That might give you an indication about his future, with the Lakers finishing last in almost every category that comes to mind about Howard’s decisions intangibles.