Realizing that getting Chris Paul in free agency is going to be quite difficult, the Dallas Mavericks seem prepared to do everything in their power to try and sign Dwight Howard, despite knowing that his top two options for next season are either re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers or joining the Houston Rockets.
The Mavericks, after a 41-41 regular season that kept them out of the playoffs for the first time since 2000, aren’t planning on building through the draft, especially when their pick, the 13th overall after the results of the lottery, isn’t going to be bring them the player they want: Someone who can be just as good and dominant as Dirk Nowitzki, even more.
The Mavs have stated that their plan is to try and bring over somebody who can do more than just take the load off of Nowitzki, who missed nearly 30 games last season and finished averaging 17.3 points per game, playing 31.3 minutes a night. He’s getting older, and it’s harder for him and his legs to keep him effective in the closing moments of games, unless he gets some help that is more than just O.J. Mayo pulling up for jumpers.
Paul got Vinny Del Negro fired, which means the Los Angeles Clippers and him have an agreement on staying if a new head coach, which he’ll probably be a part of the selection comity as well, arrives. Dwight Howard pulled that trick on the Orlando Magic about 12 months ago and ended up being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, so you never know, but it does seem like Paul is happy in Los Angeles with certain terms being met.
Howard becomes available financially for Dallas if they give up on their first round pick (has a cap hold of $1,655,300) and get Dirk Nowitzki to take a paycut he said he’s willing to undergo in order to help the team pursue the top free agents on the market. The Mavs are listed for $43 million next season, unless Shawn Marion decided to enact the early termination clause on his contract, giving up on nearly $10 million, which is unlikely.
Howard would fit great in Dallas, who even their star player is the kind who prefers spending his time on the outside and won’t bother Howard with battles for positions in the paint. Nowitzki has an ego, but he’s not Kobe Bryant. The Dallas Mavericks might be third on his shortlist, but they might also be the best option for Dwight Howard and his NBA future.