No matter where Dwight Howard ends up at the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season, he won’t be extending his contract. He’s going to let it run out and then explore free agency, with everyone knowing fully well he has no intention of staying with the Orlando Magic.
But where can he go? Where does he even want to go? In the beginning of the whole trading period Howard was all about the Brooklyn Nets. Why? Who knows. Maybe the appeal of playing alongside Deron Williams is just too great for any player to fight against. Howard may have forgotten the fact that the Nets and especially Williams aren’t the kind of team that has four players waiting outside while Howard draws a double team and kicks it out to them. With Williams, it’s about pick n’ rolls, slicing and a lot of motion sets. Howard hasn’t played in that kind of system before.
The Nets tried to do everything possible to find a way to land Howard. Straight up trade. Three-team trade. Four-team trade. Nothing worked. No one wanted all the pieces involved just so the Nets can get their super team, the one that’s so trendy to have these days. Eventually, the Nets got Joe Johnson while re-signing Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez. The ‘core four‘ isn’t such a bad thing to build upon, while there’s still a chance for a Dwight Howard trade through the season.
The other viable option all through this summer, so far, has been going to the Los Angeles Lakers. Every time some twitter picture of Dwight Howard in LA just enjoyin’ his summer vacation surfaced all the expected statements and rumors came out – Howard going to LA, Howard is going to be a Laker. Howard never said he wanted to be traded to the Lakers, and even if he would end up there, he won’t renew his contract.
The Lakers have one piece that the Magic seem to like – Andrew Bynum, which also pretty much matches the contract and salary cap for both teams, although the Magic would like some first round picks the Lakers don’t have to give anymore after trading for Steve Nash. Bynum himself doesn’t really want to go to Orlando, and has guaranteed he won’t renew his contract with them heading into free agency in the summer of 2013.
The Lakers, wouldn’t you know it, have no problem trading for Dwight Howard with a promise and guarantee he’s going to sign an extension. They’re pretty sure that the thing that draws most of their star targets to the Staples Center will also be enough to keep him there after playing for the team for a season or less. Championship culture or something like that.
And then there’s just waiting for the season to end and looking for someone who has the cap space and a bit more – aspirations to build a team around and with Dwight Howard that’s going places. That team might be the Dallas Mavericks, who lost in the race for Deron Williams but by doing so, Mark Cuban has created a team that has no long term commitments, or at least expensive ones to anyone but Dirk Nowitzki. When Dwight Howard hits the market, Dallas can provide a good home, with a promising future.
Some suggest that Howard might be already thinking that far ahead, hoping he doesn’t get traded by the Orlando Magic, obviously wanting to get something out of the center that has disappointed them with his desire to skip town. Even if Howard would like to play for the Mavs in a year and some from now, he might not get his wishes, or for the 1000th time, change his mind and stun everyone.