Free Agency: Making A Case For Dwight





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In the days, weeks and months leading up to the NBA Draft, the decision makers around the league play a revolving game of chess with agents about their players and where they might draft them, if at all.

It’s a complex, high-stakes game with very specific rules and constraints that only a select few play well enough to actually win. And even when they do win, we don’t find out about it sometimes for years.

Free agency, on the other hand, is a wicked venture that plays out every July, with the biggest stars holding most of the leverage and the desperate teams flush with cap space ready to do whatever it takes to win their favor. The winners and losers in free agency are revealed rather quickly. Spend wisely (like the Miami Heat three summers ago, with the aid of cap space and key sign-and-trade assets LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on South Beach) and you can move into elite company immediately. Spend frivolously (see the Detroit Pistons’ 2009 summer of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva) and you’ll be making an annual date for the lottery.

That superstar list this summer is short, starting with the top unrestricted free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and falling to a second-tier that includes Josh Smith, David West, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Andre Iguodala, Paul Millsap, Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobili and others.

There is also an intriguing list of restricted free agent crop includes talents like Brandon Jennings, Jeff Teague, Nikola Pekovic, Tyreke Evans, Tiago Splitter and others that some teams with cap space will poke around at in an effort to fill out their rosters.

Because unlike the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, whose blockbuster deal on Draft night changed both franchises dramatically before the July 1 start of free agency, not everyone was prepared to handle their heavy lifting in that manner.

f

With Doc Rivers fleeing the Boston rebuild for a championship chase in Los Angeles with the Clippers, that leaves Howard alone as the eye of this summer’s free agent storm. And he’s already reportedly set up a timetable of his own to have his future decided. July 10 is his decision day.

That leaves us with a distinctly different free agent landscape than we expected as recently as last weekend and the need for some clarity on exactly who and what will be in play July 1, as well as what teams figure to be the major players in the free agent sweepstakes …

DO THE MATH FIRST!

There are as many as 14 teams that could be $10 million under the salary cap, meaning there could be close to $300 million in collective cap space available for spending this summer. And that doesn’t include the sign-and-trade assets teams will have at their disposal to make deals.

That said, not every penny of that available cap space will be spent. But it’s out there. And you better believe the agents representing all of these free agents, restricted and unrestricted, have their designs on every penny.

THE IMPACT OF THE NEW CBA?

With so much money and so many teams flooding the market, the agents are counting on someone being willing to overpay. League rules require teams to spend 90 percent of the cap, the figure was $49.337 million for the 2012-13 season and is expected to rise $3 million more for the 2013-14 season.

Expect there to be more short-term deals instead of the long-term monster deals of the previous CBA that teams fretted over, seemingly always after the fact.

“It’s a different world than what everyone is used to,” said a longtime Eastern Conference executive. “Everybody has to wrap their head around a new way of doing things, we do and the players and their agents do, too. The ‘future’ used to mean four and five years down the road. Now it’s more like two and in some cases three years for the guys who don’t change your culture.”

THE FRANCHISES THAT WILL BE THE KEY PLAYERS FOR HOWARD …

Howard has already let it be known that two of the NBA’s Texas powers will get the first crack at selling him on leaving the Lakers, with the hometown Hawks also under consideration before finishing up with whatever pitch the Lakers make before his July 10 decision.

There is no indication that he will entertain recruiting/sales pitches from anyone else.

NBA’s com’s Fran Blinebury details what the Rockets and Mavericks are selling, while I take care of the Hawks. They all start with a baseline of the four-year, $89million maximum salary deal that any team (that isn’t the Lakers, who can offer a five-year, $118 million deal) with the available cap space can offer.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

The closing scene for commissioner David Stern at the draft on Thursday night, when Hakeem Olajuwon came onstage to wrap him in a bear hug, might as well have been a direct message to Howard.

Houston thinks big.

Even in 1984, when the prize of Michael Jordan dangled in front of their eyes, the Rockets made the 6-foot-10 center Olajuwon the No. 1 pick in the draft. Now the franchise that has a linear history of All-Star centers from Moses Malone to Olajuwon to Yao Ming can offer Howard possibilities that are as big as all of Texas.

But the appeal of the Rockets is more than just history. It is a future filled with young talent a world of possibilities. There is not another landing spot for the big free agent that can instantly pair him up with a rising All-Star. James Harden did not just bring credibility back to the Houston franchise a year ago, he showed that he is one of the unstoppable scoring forces in the league and possesses that right stuff to rank with any offensive forces in the league, including those named LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

While Howard wants to be known and used and marketed and paid as a “franchise player,” in Houston he would not have to do it alone. He could play off Harden’s slashing ability and his excellent passing skills to once more be a scoring monster in the paint. While he would still be forced to fit in with a rehabbing Kobe Bryant and an aging Steve Nash with the Lakers, in Houston everything would be geared around him.

The Rockets can also offer a coach in Kevin McHale who comes with a Hall of Fame resume and perhaps the best low post fundamentals for a big men in the history of the game. McHale has been champing at the bit to play a game with an inside force, and would be an excellent teacher to tap into Howard’s skills and take him to the next level. What’s more, if Howard seeks more high level knowledge and assistance, Olajuwon still lives in the neighborhood and could provide occasional one-on-one tutorials.

There is also the benefit of Houston itself: a laid-back, but dynamic locale that is the fourth-largest city in the United States, but does not have the white-hot glare of living in the Hollywood spotlight. Howard could recapture some of the relative peace and quiet that he once had in Orlando, while not at all sacrificing his chance to play for NBA titles. The Rockets already have a pair of championship trophies in their case and are ready to think big again.

d

DALLAS MAVERICKS

If it’s all about bells and whistles and having the red carpet rolled out for Howard, nobody does the welcoming thing better than Mark Cuban.

If it’s about being made to feel that you are the biggest, shiniest, best new thing in the world, no place on the planet does that better than Big D.

Remember America’s Team? Howard could be America’s Center in Dallas and you can be sure that Cuban will spare no expense and spend every waking breath to proclaim it.

What’s more, if the goal is to pair up with another All-Star who could get him back to the NBA Finals and contending for a championship the fastest, Howard couldn’t find a more willing playing partner than Dirk Nowitzki.

While a 35-year-old Nowitzki is closer to the end of his career than 23-year-old James Harden in Houston, it means that Dirk and the Mavs have a greater sense of urgency than the Rockets. As soon as Howard signs on in Dallas, Cuban and team president Donnie Nelson will move heaven and earth to put the supporting cast in place.

Nowitzki has the experience and the know-how that it takes to win a championship. He understands the situation and at this point in his career, is willing to make the sacrifices to his own game to win another title. Dirk has won an MVP award in the regular season and The Finals and is not seeking individual accolades, just one more sip of champagne before retirement. A year after his game was curtailed following knee surgery, he’ll be back to his old tricks, which would mesh perfectly with a dominant inside force. With their size and their complementary styles, there might not be a better instant fit for Howard anywhere in the league. Playing with an accommodating Dirk could be more appealing to Howard than trying to sync up in Houston with a guard (Harden) who needs the ball in his hands.

Dirk’s advancing age also means that in just a few short years he’ll step aside, leaving Howard to stretch out inside the throne room of the franchise at a time when he’ll still be young enough for Cuban to reload. It is said that Howard likes the idea of having the baton passed to him. In addition, the Mavs could still have cap room in the summer of 2014 to pursue his next running mate.

When healthy, Howard is also the most dominant defensive force in the NBA and few coaches in the league place more of a premium and do a better job emphasizing and coaching defense than Rick Carlisle. Think back to what Carlisle was able to do with Tyson Chandler as the anchor in the middle when the Mavs went on their championship march in 2011. Then consider that Howard is a quantum leap forward as a defender.

Two years after blowing up his own championship team by allowing too many of the pieces to walk for financial reasons, Cuban has owned up to the mistake and is back in the business of trying to make a big splash by using his big, oversized personality.

If it’s about being made to feel special, nobody does that better than Cuban and Dallas.

c

ATLANTA HAWKS

The Hawks are hoping that the tug of home will give Howard reason to pass on the headaches and pressures in Los Angeles and skip both sites on that Texas two-step and become the face of the franchise just miles away from where he grew up in Southwest Atlanta, something Hawks general manager Danny Ferry would love to see happen.

There is no storied, championship history or Hall of Fame big man legacy for Howard to carry on here. But how big would he be if he were to come home and lead the Hawks to championship heights? He’d rank as the greatest athlete to call Atlanta home and rank somewhere right behind Martin Luther King Jr. on the list of Atlanta’s most beloved sons.

The Hawks boast a new coach, Mike Budenholzer, whose spent the past 17 years immersed in a system that should be the model for how to play to an elite big man’s strengths. The Spurs crafted their dynasty around Hall of Famer David Robinson first and then Tim Duncan after him. If Howard thinks the Lakers, under Mike D’Antoni, didn’t use him properly this season, he’d have no worries in a Budenholzer-crafted system that would revolve around him.

There is no ensemble cast already in place for Howard to join, no new set of oversized expectations for him to try to live up to if he were to come back to his hometown franchise, which is starting for a superstar anchor to lead them to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks offer a near blank canvas to work with on the roster, meaning they will fill out a crew that complements Howard the way his supporting cast in Orlando did when they played for a championship in 2009.

A fresh start in a familiar place could also come with some familiar faces as well. Howard and Hawks center/power forward Al Horford battled for years while playing competing against one another in the Southeast Division. They could be the devastating a 1-2 punch in the post that Howard and Pau Gasol never were with the Lakers. And if Howard really wants to have someone he trusts watching his back, he could suggest Ferry make sure that his pre-school classmate and longtime friend Josh Smith not be allowed to escape via free agency himself. That’s a frontline trio that would rival any other group in the league, including that crew in Brooklyn.

Howard’s insistence on not going somewhere and joining someone else’s team can only be fulfilled in one place, the only place he could truly call home.

gf

BOTTOM LINE

Howard is obviously not the only free agent target on the market, but until his July 10 decision (that’s his date, not anything being placed on him by an outside entity) he will remain the most scrutinized individual on the market. And rightfully so, because no matter how much damage you think he has done to his own brand and reputation with his actions of the past year and a half, the seven-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of Year remains the most intriguing big man talent in the league (when healthy).

And if you don’t believe it, just watch how these organizations mentioned above go all out in competing for his favor the second the free agency period kicks off at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1.

127 Comments

  1. Saeed says:

    I’m a Heat fan.
    If I were Howard, I would definitely choose the Rockets to play. A 3-point offensive juggernaut with a huge paint-player will be as dangerous as the Miami Heat and what a Finals between the two.

  2. Charles says:

    Actually Greg the 93-94 Houston Rockets won the Championship with the only All-Star being Hakeem Olajuwon. The Rockets did however bring in Clyde Drexler the following season which made it easier to repeat.

  3. financial says:

    Hi there, just turned into aware of your weblog via Google, and located that it’s truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate in case you proceed this in future. Lots of people might be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  4. SANDIEGO LAKER FAN says:

    Lakers should trade Howard to Clippers for Bledsoe & Griffin and bring Bynum home.

  5. LA Fan says:

    Even though this season is a bust for LA, things could’ve been much worse, just imagine they kept Andrew Bynum (LOL). If Dwight wants to leave a franchise that had Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, Mikan, let him walk!!!! L.A. with the money can maybe sign Smith/Iguodala, then with Steve Nash and Kobe + Mike D’antoni, we can run and gun again:)

  6. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Yes. Chris Paul’s best fit (if he leaves LA) would be to join the Thunder. It’s very doable. The Thunder sell out (as far as I know) all their homes games, season and playoffs. Thus, they should be able to afford to pay a few measley taxes.

    The Lakers’ payroll this season was dangerously close to the REAL CAP LIMIT $100 Million. If they re-sign Howard, they will likely be over 100 Million.

    The Thunder payroll? UNDER 70 Million! The Thunder have around 20 – 40 million cap space (if they amnesty Ken Perkins) to be a major player in this Summer’s FA market.

    C’mon, Thunder!! It’s more than worth it!! If they sign Chris Paul and someone like Igoudala, they’ll still have room to re-sign Kevin Martin. Thus, they will build a DREAM TEAM that will dominate the NBA for the next decade. They will win multiple NBA Championships and regular-season #1 seeds! They will rake in all sorts of extra revenues. They can without a doubt afford to invest in Chris Paul. If Paul wants to win the next 10 NBA Championships, he must be willing to accept slightly lesser pay. Totally worth it. Chris Paul starting at PG and Westbrook starting at SG. Thus, Russ will never get injured like that ever again.

  7. Jonez says:

    Atlanta hawks starting 5
    pg: rondo
    sg: iguodala
    sf: j smith
    pf: horford
    c: howard

  8. Wagner says:

    Nobody knows what they re talking about and I probably don’t either. Howard doesn’t like people telling him what to do or to be judged even if he makes the biggest mistakes. That’s why he can’t play with kobe or any other strong dominant leader or market out their. He isn’t a fit for L.A. and needs to progress as a player on and off the court on his own which is why he will go to Atlanta or somewhere else along those lines.

  9. ballerinthehouse says:

    i belive howard should go to celtics after losing kg paul pierce and terry the could probably sing him or sign and trade for him i am thinking this is what they could do

  10. Belizain says:

    Dwight Howard should go to Houston Rockets if he wants a title shot. the west is not very strong with big men he could more dominate in that conference. The rockets are younger than mavericks and play at a faster tempo which is the type of system Dwight will be more comfortable in. im not a Dwight fan but rockets is clearly the best scenario if he is thinking title contention.

  11. beasly says:

    hopper comercial is britishaly annoying

  12. bojtiwah says:

    to CPTHINDE and RYU…What Rockets need is just a great DEFFENSE inside the paint and DEF/OFF BOARDS and that’s what D12 filling to this position. It doesnt matter if Asik plays 4 position so as to fulfill what’s lack on this team. Remember PACERS & HEATS games, miami didn’t have the strength inside the paint whether DEF or OFF play. So in this scenario if Rockets will acquire D12 then they will soon to be an inevitable team. They already have better perimeter shooters like Harden, Parsons, Delfino and Lin. Harden and Lin could do pick and roll. So what else you want to prove that this team will be the next NBA CHAMPIONS…As i said:
    PG – LIN/BEVERLY
    SG – HARDEN/GARCIA
    SF – PARSONS/DELFINO
    PF – ASIK/ROBINSON
    C – HOWARD/MOTIEJUNAS

  13. jose says:

    Go to the bulls dwight take out carlos boozer and be along side d rose loul deng, joakim.
    Center-joakim
    Power forward-dwight
    Shooting forward-loul deng
    Small forward- nate robinson/kirk
    Point guard-derrick rose

    • stumpy says:

      Shooting Forward what is that lol
      C- Dwight
      PF- Joakim
      SF -loul deng
      SG- nate robinson/kirk
      PG- Derrick Rose

  14. stumpy says:

    The Jazz need to pick up Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith form Atlanta. GO JAZZ NATION

  15. Dallas Mavsman says:

    to Jojo Lec and all the other people who think they are gms’s and KNOW where players should go… you are wrong. its plain to see why Howard has been waiting to sign with mavs since he left orlando. he is the best defensive player in the leauge. alongside dirk they will compete in WCF for the next 5 years straight. lebron will tinkle in his pants when he sees the howard/dirk combo and spolestra will get outcoached again by carlisle. cry cry cry when all this happens and your idol lebron comes crashing back to earth next finals. jerry jones and mark cuban are the best owners in american sports

  16. Michaelp says:

    I just want to see Dwight Howard succeed. However, Dwight also has to do his part. He has to play great. His potential is endless but he has to work hard and let his game speak.

  17. Stephone says:

    Howard is all about the money If I was him ill be trying to land with the Spurs

  18. Arbaz Sharif says:

    The lakers should trade Dwight Howard for Blake griffin on the clippers. That way Chris Paul and Dwight get to play on the same team and the lakers will also get a boost with a young player when they already have kobe and pau. That way both teams win!

  19. kadaver says:

    Well as the best franchise the lakers should not n i repeat should beg this big drama queen anything if he is happy in L.A then it shouldnt take him ten days plus hes not a real center the most he is a power foward L.A is kobes city so keep in mind howard cannot shoot n no ball handling skills n when things dont go his way he plays and acts like a pre schooler

  20. ramon says:

    Excellent article. Very informative as always. Outstanding work Sekou. From a true nba fan, I thank you for your insight, you are a true delight for a fan hungry for knowledge. Go Knicks, I know this is not a Knicks article bit I love my Knicks.

  21. Lakers4life says:

    By the way Howard isn’t worth 118 million$.

  22. Lakers4life says:

    Just like Magic said in the nba finals if howard goes to another team he will just be bouncing around the nba.1.The Lakers could sign him again and trade him for Amar’e Stoudemire(I know it’s ridiculus).2.He could go to the Rockets with James Harden they will make a big impact.

  23. cpthinde says:

    If you’re a Laker fan, I would say that you want Dwight to leave so the Lakers can get a chance at some big free agents in the 2014 offseason (i.e. Melo, LeBron, Bosh, D-Wade, and etc.) and clear up some much needed cap space. Honestly, Dwight has a circus following him everywhere he goes now, and the Lakers are a winning franchise that really hates having to deal with drama, and that leads me to saying, “Just let Dwight walk.” It does sound crazy but the Lakers realistically don’t have a say to keep him or let him walk, because he is an UNRESTRICTED Free Agent. You can argue that you want Dwight to stay because he is a Franchise Player, but he is like a Terrell Owens type person, he is just a disease to the team that he is on.

  24. abcdefg says:

    If Howard wants to win a Ring… He MUST make his freethrows!

  25. Lawrence says:

    The Lakers need to fire Dantoni, trade and cut eveyone except Kobe, then sign Howard, and convince Chris Paul to come to the Lakers( where he would already be if not for David Stern). Then they can do what Miami did, sign guys who want a ring and not a big paycheck. That way when Kobe retires they can still compete.

  26. NBA says:

    Lol no body has mentioned the sleeper team yet in any of these articles. Howard will go to Golden State. He has always wanted to play with a star point guard (the warriors have the top rising guard in the NBA Stephen Curry, while non of the favorites have one), he would also be paired with 2 time all star David Lee AND he will be on a team that has already proven they can win playoff games.

    • Golden State Warriors Fan says:

      The Real Golden State Warriors Fan telling what will really happen in relallity

      Lol you are Crazy for Golden State to get Howard they would have to trade either Curry, Harrison barnes, and David Lee, or Klay Thomson, Harrison Barnes, and David Lee, of Harrison Barnes, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut, or Curry, Harrison Barnes , and Bogut, or Klay Thomson, Harrison Barnes, and Bogut. I can tell you this Golden State will not part ways with Curry, Klay Thomson, and Harrison Barnes, and The Lakers do not want David Lee or Andrew Bogut. Also Golden State doesn’t have the money that Howard want’s and will earn. So Howard will be going to the Houston Rockets, because they have the money and cap space to bring Howard in.

  27. AT says:

    The money at this point should not be the issue. Either way Dwight is set for life financially. He will make a ton of money, have endorsement money, and of course there is what he has already earned.

    At his level of pay, a ring should be more important. That’s priceless, and again, no matter what, he is set financially with more money than he or his family can possibly spend in multiple lifetimes.

    Plus, a ring in the long run may make more money. Win a ring, and your endorsements go up. Win a ring, and your future pay goes up. Win a ring, and future business and entertainment possibilities go up. So it may be worth it to sacrifice a bit financially to better position yourself to get a ring. And Dwight ain’t getting a ring with LA.

  28. Kimmy says:

    Dwight doesn’t want to come back to Atlanta. Even though this is his home. That’s boring to him. I think he will continue to hop teams. He has chemistry and ego issues. I think he will end up in Houston. He wants to be the leader wherever he goes.

  29. Ivan says:

    Dwight Howard is the most dominated player in the NBA! It is a really sad thing that he didn’t show his skills due this season. I’ve been watching him for a while, since he won the slam dunk contest. He isn’t like other centres. Shaquille, Yao Ming and other big players are good, but they aren’t like Dwight. Dwight is stronger, and has a higher jump. The only player who is in the same level like him is DeAndre Jordan. This 2 centres are the best centres in the NBA now and in the next 3-4 season for sure. The best thing for Dwight is to leave L.A. Lakers beacuse he is a star, but Kobe is a bigger star, and of course Kobe needs always to have the ball. The best teams for him are: Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls.

    • realist2013 says:

      Negative. As far as centers go its Howard, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, and Brook Lopez. Gasol and Lopez have more offensive moves than Howard and Gasol is a beast on D as well. Howard is a good shot blocker and rebounder and is a shaq like player. he needs a hook shot and better post moves bit mchale can help with that.

    • Go green says:

      Most “dominated” player in the NBA? I totally agree. Also the comparison with DeAndre Jordan is nice. They are both clowns. Only DeAndre is hilarious. Dwight is not. Just immature.

    • Charles says:

      Are you saying Cleveland, Miami, and Chicago have no stars? Bartender I’ll have what he’s drinking. Lmao.

  30. kenny says:

    i’m tiered of these so called supper teams they should of had a hard cap then it would be a lot more interesting because of these supper teams there are olnley 5 teams with a shot at the tital when in the early 2,000s there were about 10 the NBA will figure out in the long run this is bad for the NBA

    • Charles says:

      Any kind of CBA Agreement has to be an Agreement between the owners, the NBA, and the Players union. No Way in HELL would the Players Union agree to a lowered Hard Cap in order to help out smaller market teams. Would you take a steep pay cut at your job to help out your competitors? Think about it.

  31. Pratip says:

    i may be a new viewer of NBA so it may seem crazy but why spurs is not in the the mix?? they have a large salary space following the contract expiry of Manu and Jack!!

  32. Dave says:

    Think About it….

    A ring is priceless but at the same time worth nothing.

    MONEY is MONEY its worth something

    I think the money is more important

  33. FrankL2010 says:

    DWIGHT? who is this guy again?

  34. Diego Lopes says:

    He go Celtics

  35. JerrellJohnson says:

    Dwight is coming to Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith and Al Horford best front court and you can trust us to get you there and Houston only made the playoffs once Dallas miss the playoffs an Atlanta has made the playoffs 6 straight times we have the cap space to sign other guys if needed to become even more difficult to beat his coming home to Atlanta

  36. KG says:

    Has anyone considered D12 wants to play for the Spurs? I came across a few interesting articles earlier. All they have to do is get rid of Splitter & Manu to free up Cap for a 1 year contract. But It would be a gamble.

    If he wants to mature & have the best chance at winning a championship, he’ll go there. 15 seasons in a row with over 50+ wins. That’s a definition of a winning franchise to me. The problem is they might be too small of a market for him…

    http://www.foxsportssouthwest.com/nba/san-antonio-spurs/story/Dwight-Howard-wants-to-play-for-Spurs?blockID=911705

    http://www.projectspurs.com/2013-articles/june/report-dwight-howard-has-spurs-as-possible-landing-spot.html

  37. rapsadidoydi says:

    Howard is just so overrated…he should be mature first before he be considered as one of the best centers in the league. If have to choose between him and Bosh…I will pick Bosh right now because Bosh has a perimeter shooting. can defend and make big plays.

  38. GoMavs says:

    I am a Mavericks fan and I DON’T want Howard! He will jack up any team he goes to! What’s the big deal? Howard is probably the most overated player in the league! He’s athletic, 7 ft. tall and 265 lb. he dosen’t even know how to post up.

  39. I think houston would be perfect for him and montae +harden+parsons

  40. bojtiwah says:

    JUST SIMPLE…
    PG – Lin
    SG – Harden
    SF – Parsons
    PF – Asik
    C – Howard
    NBA CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE

    • Common Sense says:

      still would lose…

      • cpthinde says:

        I still don’t see why you would put Asik as a PF, he backed up Noah in Chicago, so why the heck would he start at the PF. I thought the PF is Thomas Robinson’s position…..Just Sayin’

  41. bojtiwah says:

    PG – Lin
    SG – Harden
    SF – Parsons
    PF – Asik
    C – Howard
    NBA TITLE

  42. trueHEATfan says:

    I said it mid season before trade deadline and also many times after that, D12 will be a Houston Rocket in the very near future. ATL has no chance and Dallas though appealing, does not have the staff equipt to not only win right away. That leaves the Rockets as the best choice. Harden is good enough to play slasher/off the ball, and Dwight would have one of the greatest post players in history coaching him. Lets not forget about Hakeem lives in town and would most likely come on bored to further help develop the bigman similar to what Ewing did in Orlando. Just look at what the Rockets did last season with adding the Beard to the mix. They instanly became a competitive playoff team with no real big to throw the ball downlow to. Asik is good on defense but a scoring threat.

    In houston Dwight would have good shooters on the wing like in Orlando and have a teamate that can consistently draw double teams on drives which could potentially lead to many highlihht dunks by Howard.

  43. AWESOME BRIAN says:

    best way :

    lakers resign him then trade him for tyson chandler and jr smith in ny.
    works because knicks just drafted tim hardaway jr so have a sixth man
    plus chandler is hurt and isnt the defensive stopper he was before his injury
    knicks beat nets in conference finals and win championship

    • shaba says:

      who says that will be the conference final? silly to rule out teams like chicago with a healthy rose, indiana, and of course the current champions Miami…

      • cpthinde says:

        That would be close to impossible MR. AWESOME BRAIN. Because J.R. Smith is an UNRESTRICTED Free Agent, so the Knicks can’t necessarily just sign and trade him whenever they want to. And having 3 very big Ego’s in New York with Melo, Stoudemire, and DH12 is a very bad recipe. And Tyson Chandler still has it, he just got really sick in the Playoffs and lost around 10-15 lbs, he will be back to normal in the 2013-2014 Season.

      • cpthinde says:

        I also forgot to mention that J.R. Smith is not really friends with Kobe and I don’t think he would want to be on the same team with him due to the fact that he has expressed he wants to start on a team.

  44. MIMI says:

    Im not a DH fan But I think the best move for him is to move to the rockets, and he will be working with Kevin MCHALE he is a true big man and will be his coach, he will get way better with him as a coach I think

  45. ronmitch says:

    Dwight Howard is a weak minded Clown who’s VERY overrated. The Lakers will not get better with him as there main man.

  46. corey says:

    come home to Atlanta….

  47. djphillis1 says:

    What would Rockets do with Asik? Do you think a premier PG instead of Lin would be better (Wall, CP3?)

  48. matthew mathis says:

    All In For Lakers Big 3 Iguodala, Smith, And Jefferson. Please leave us Dwight and go to Houston and finish your career like Yao.

  49. Fgue says:

    Well Gasol is legitimate a Center, I would build a team around him, Howard Haven’t show anything about his talent so far other than distraction, If Howard wants to come back to los angeles he needs to commit and work with etic and feel the sense of urgency of winning a championship. hope he doesn’t start another drama and distraction to the lakers like last years. Go Lakers Go!!!!

    • Proven Commodity says:

      Gasol has won the Lakers two championships.

      It is a travesty to ignore him and coddle up to, and kiss up to Dwight Howard.

      You are absolutely correct, Gasol is a legitimate center. Lakers should acquire ‘other’ pieces to compliment Kobe, Nash and Gasol with the money they are wasting on Howard, and would have a championship caliber team.

  50. Noah says:

    Forget Howard let him out of LA he is not needed he proved in the playoffs we can’t carry a team so when kobe is done in a few years Howard will not help win a championship. Howard is not the player he could br and he will never be. Anywhere he goes is a disappointment

  51. Gizdwis says:

    As long Mike D is there as a coach, why should Dwight go back to a team and of course they don’t emphasize in Defense.

  52. BBall says:

    What happened to the Howard at Orlando. He was better over there rather than the one at L.A, he probably must be ending up in the East with Knicks,Celtics or Hawks or back in the West with Lakers, Clippers or Spurs. D12 is isn going to be over priced by the way

  53. Sirdelvin says:

    F.I.L.A. come put on for your city ayyyeeeeee!!!!!!

  54. Floridian says:

    Howard is overrated, and over priced! He needs to mature to become a team player and improve his game first. Compare his game and personality with Tim Duncan, then you will better understand my point.

    • Bird33 says:

      Well said….he’s a big baby and a phony. I hope he falls flat on his A _ _ wherever he lands.

  55. krolgolisza says:

    Lakers need good head coach, who will manage this team.

  56. Dan the Man says:

    Would love to see Superman in Atlanta. Haven’t been a true contender since the Human Highlight Film was squaring off with Larry Bird. A hometown hero to give Atlanta a World Champion would be a great story and a great party!

  57. ShawnKemp says:

    Houston is the obvious choice. No chance he’ll go back to the lakers.

  58. NL Baller says:

    I still don’t believe that with Dwight as a max player, you’re getting your money’s worth. I know that’s not what this article is about, but if I were LA, I’d either sign and trade, or let him walk and look at a guy like Igudala who fills a need for them more than Dwight.

  59. ANONUMOUS says:

    JAMES HARDEN WAS NOT 3RD IN THE NBA IN SCORING AVERAGE….KOBE WAS..

    • Jojo Lecitona says:

      Forget it kobe is done. Individual record or honor doesn’t count. Look at kd and anthony both scoring leader but no ring

  60. Jimmy Jazz says:

    You would think after recent moves Boston might be a player

  61. dfan says:

    i hope he goes to dallas.

  62. RUNE GOOD says:

    The Lakers aren’t going anywhere for a few years (If Howard Stays), and he knows that. Kobe is done. He can no longer will his way past the new crop of young talent in the league, especially after coming off an injury. The only other star on the team is Pau and even his own fan base question his heart and determination. The Lakers are entering a rebuilding stage themselves and as loaded as the West is, it will take them a few years before they have a chance at winning the Western Conference. I think the best place for him to fast track to a Conference Final opportunity would be 1.) Houston and then 2.) Dallas. These 2 have scoring support for him to be able to be comfortable to do his thing. I think he would do well in Atlanta, but the Hawks would not have the immediate success he may be looking for. He certainly may be happy to be back at home and find comfort in that. But for the money he is looking for, he will have to produce quickly. I’m excited to see what happens with Dwight because there was a time when he was healthy and was one of the top two most productive players in the league along with Lebron James. However, along with getting himself healthy, he needs to be in an environment where he is comfortable playing so he will be mentally up to the challenge.

    • huy says:

      for real bro you are such a nerd who spends your time reading all these articles and show off your ‘bball knowledge’. i wonder if any of you haters had been seeing how kobe play the past season smfh

      • B Radd says:

        The lakers should have never traded for Kobe. They should’ve kept Vlade and let him retired as a Laker.

  63. J says:

    dwight howard should go to houston perfect fit that or golden state but golden state prob dont got the space

    terrific article i loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  64. ludinole says:

    Only Oklahoma, LA Clippers, Chicago or Miami can get him a ring.

    • jay jones says:

      Yeah I think u left the spurs off the list

    • Jojo Lecitona says:

      Add memphis and warriors in this list

    • ryu says:

      howard for okc? bad move and i dont think he will like it there. I think howard will do good in chicago, interesting to have him play around with d-rose. LaC will not be on howard’s mind too , he wants to be the center of attraction and the other city can’t get him that. I think boston is also planning some crazy thing throwing all their vets probably counting to have d12. it is always about the player’s desire and he wants for get about the salary cap, remember the miami shock a couple of years ago? I think there’s a slight possibility d12 will go to miami, he needs to get 10 million and below to earn that ring but if he really wants it so badly then he should do his sacrife and face the criticism that lbj faced and become an nba champion.

  65. laker4life says:

    lakers should sign dwight howard then trade him for a bunch of really good role players. best option

  66. Mike says:

    He should move to any of the team mentioned. It will not work for him in the LA Lakers they dont have chemistry there.
    I am more excited if he will go to Atlanta seeing him along with Horford & Josh Smith (if he comes back) in the eastern conference now full of powerhouse teams bangin bodies against Miami, Indiana, Chicago, Brooklyn & New York.

    • corey says:

      im thinking atl going with al Jefferson nd Iguodala nd mayb monty ellis….which is not bad because al/al duo don’t sound all that bad

      • Stop The Hatin says:

        Your point automatically becomes invalid when you can’t type like a normal person.

  67. Okay, One More Time ... says:

    Backbone Issue
    June 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm
    I suspect Dwight Howard is too cheap to walk away from 30 Million Dollars. He doesn’t have the character, moral courage or the spine to do it. The Lakers will be stuck with him for a while. Alas !

  68. What's with Howard? says:

    Why is everybody talking about Howard? Howard is just an athletic big man and that’s it. He does not have the mental toughness, detemination and intelligence like that of Shaq or Olajuwon. He will never become a champion unless he teams up with LBJ. haha

    • Jojo Lecitona says:

      Good point

    • Rip says:

      Dwight howard isn’t a superstar who can win a championship unless he has a few stars with him. No free throws no post moves defense and dunks won’t win you a ring with the way the league has changed to the guard play.

      • cpthinde says:

        What are you talking about, Howard is the best Center in the NBA…hands down. He was not 100% the entire year and he still led the league in Rebounding (If Kevin Love was 100%, him and Dwight would be neck and neck), but he has a very, very good chance to win a ring if he, “Takes his talents to Houston.” You mentioned how the league is geared toward guard play, Houston obviously has the guard play with Lin and Harden, then you add the Most Dominant Center in the NBA in the mix with a great backup Center in Asik and a great supporting cast in Parsons and Thomas Robinson, that is a contending team right there.

  69. Bar says:

    Everything Dallas/Houston/Atlanta can offer so can the Lakers. I don’t see any big difference. I think it’s the immaturity of Howard who continue to look for a short cut to championship when that is not possible. Wherever he goes, he will still have to work hard and go through a few years of frustration before even contenting for the ring. I believe staying with the Lakers will give him more stability and respect from the league. Going to Dallas or Houston will likely drive him to look for another team in 2 or 3 years. Just stay and work for it.

    • Kei says:

      Yes, all of them might have equal offer. But seeing how Kobe treat him this year should make d12 second guess. Big boy pants? Man up and forget the injury, everyone’s injured? Karma bites and I wonder what d12 said to kobe after he went down. D12, be a smart guy and get out of LA. Any team will be better than the lakers.

      • cpthinde says:

        I say that Dwight needs to go to Houston. Dwight is said to be “Immature” and staying in a Very, Very judgemental market in L.A. that only wants success is not a good recipe for Dwight where everything you do from what you say to what clothes you wear, gets judged and Dwight is clearly not a good fit for L.A. and the Lakers need to enter the rebuilding stage WITHOUT Dwight.

    • MeYummyHeat says:

      Lakers is no longer a contender team. They barely made it to the playoffs with a healthy kobe. year older kobe with an achilles issue. What would you expect from that…

    • bfG says:

      Well the Lakers can offer him one more thing : toxic atmosphere. Playing with Kobe in those years is just suicidal for any top notch player.

    • Ad says:

      lets see kobe- 34 and coming off an achilles injury, pau gasol-32, metta world peace 33, steve nash 39, please tell me how he has a better chance staying with the lakers, I would love to hear this

      • Jojo Lecitona says:

        Absolute big O.

      • Lakerfan76 says:

        well the lakers have everyone off the books in 2014 and would definitely spend a lot of money putting a championship caliber team around Dwight. anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. its the Lakers MO to build teams that win championships. and with everyone off the books this will be a lot easier to do.

    • Unkle Daddy says:

      As I said Lakers broken down, Dallas busted, he won’t be happy unless he wins so he needs to go where he can win now, he won’t do that in L.A. so he’ll just want out again in a year or two. So unless L.A. or Dallas can move four out of five starters and get better players in return, Houston or Atlanta it is.

    • realist2013 says:

      The Lakers have no bench, Gasols feelings are hurt, Kobe has never had a real point guard and wont let Nash do what he’s been unstoppable at i.e. fascilitating. They have no outside shooting for inside out play and no money to get anyone meaning after Kobe’s retirement they will be rebuilding and that will take time Howard doesnt want to wait on. Houston or Dallas are the only 2 teams that stand out. Texas also has no state tax which is why half the league lives here in the off season. Just wait and see what he does.

    • AC says:

      If Dwight only cares about money then by all means stay in LA. But if he thinks LA are going to win a championship next year with all those old geezers then he is dreaming. Houston will probably be the best choice if he wants to move. A franchise that has many famous centers, HoF big man McHale as the head coach, great starting five as well as a solid bench. Houston has the best environment for him to develop as a player as well as a chance to win championships in the future.

    • josh says:

      Houston has the best option right now. A solid team who will become very powerful with a great backup in Asik (who could even shift to PF and have both on the floor at times). This side could do the biz over Miami if this all happens and the rosters stay the same! The Lakers are old mate. Kobe is old. LA need to trade and move on. I hear the Nets will buy out players like Pau and Nash this year. I would take up that offer indeed and start again. If that happens then CP3 and Dwight could well light up LA but I Dwight likes Kobe (well that is the rumour I have been hearing).

    • BDS says:

      Big difference is coaching! Run n Gun Mike has no clue how to use D12! I’m not a fan of Howard at all, but he should run for the hills while he is still able.

      1. Houston
      2. Atlanta (D12, Horford, Smith would be Beast)
      3. Dallas

    • Charles says:

      Actually Houston has more youth, the Lakers do still have Kobe Bryant who has a few good years left in him but the team is old, so Howard would shoulder most of the weight. However, in Houston there is the youthful 23 year old James Harden; the now 3rd year budding Chandler Parsons, and a host of other young talent that with Howard at the core can contend for the Championship for years to come.

  70. dante says:

    if Howard wants a ring forget all that money an team’s come to the best team the league the Miami heat facts

    • Christoph says:

      Nobody wants a ring that bad. you still have to have dignity and honor. but i guess lebron and ray allen didnt have that

      • Jack says:

        Hear, hear!

      • Jojo Lecitona says:

        What dignity are you talking. Your forgetting the fact that players play for that elusive ring. Money to them is secondary. You want to be a champion then play as a champion and play with the champions.

      • Stop The Hatin says:

        Guess almost all of the other greats didn’t have dignity or honor either huh? Guess Karl Malone, KG, Wilt, Kareem, Iceman, Big O, Scottie, Shaq, Robert Parish, 31 of the 50 Greatest Players in the NBA didn’t have any dignity or honor huh? Your point is invalid.

      • Greg says:

        We got us a dilutional heat hater! Allen left so he could win another ring, LeBron left because Cleveland was to blind to bring in another top tier player. No championship team has ever won a title with just one all star on the team.

      • J says:

        @jojo

        Lets be real here. Rings don’t pay the bills, hell rings dont even really matter. Money provides security,pays the bills and provides thing that for most athletes their families never had. Saying these players aren’t playing for money is just naive. They’ll play for rings AFTER they get their money or they’ll end up like 70% of atheletes who file for bankruptcy five years after retirement.

      • martinez says:

        When the Rockets won their first championship, who was the other all star on team besides olajuwon? So you can win with one all star

      • Lakersss says:

        Lakers should sign Defino and Brooks. They need a good point guard and a 3-pt shooter!!!!!!

    • Loki says:

      He doesn’t need to go to the heat to win a championship. Theyre not the only team capable of winning one. Dwight just needs to be with a solid core of talent that he has chemistry with and isn’t coached by D’antoni

    • Dansam95 says:

      The Heat can’t afford him. They already have to dump one of the big three after next season.

      • Stop The Hatin says:

        Lol no they don’t. Micky is like Mikhael Prokhov, he will spend as he needs to.

    • Jack says:

      Yeah, Dwight. Become the fourth wheel of Miami’s three-madonna’s.

    • Rob says:

      The Heat have no use for a drama queen that can’t hit free throws and would clog the lanes for Lebron and DWade. There’s a reason Bosh is only expected to play as a stretch 5 rather than rebound like a traditional center.

    • Shevaun says:

      You obviously know nothing about basketball or how the NBA works if you really think the Miami heat can afford Dwight Howard along with Lebron, Wade and Bosh. There is such thing as a salary cap!

    • Stop The Hatin says:

      You make Heat fans look bad. There is a salary cap. Micky Arison does have enough money to pay him, but they only way they would be able to get Dwight is through a trade. Even then, nobody in Miami wants a drama queen with no balls like him.

      • bball4life says:

        everyone needs to calm down, my fellow heat fan was clearly joking and he was clearly trying to say that miami is the champs, and the best team in the league, so all the haters can shut up now, … stop hating … go enjoy ur summer … cuz us miami fans are