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Analyzing Dwight Howard’s Options

With all the talk about bringing together multiple players on a superstar level or top notch all-star level, it may be in Dwight Howard’s best interest to avoid forming one of these popular teams full of three max-level contract if his goal is to win an NBA title. Joining a team full of max stars is going to leave holes in the roster Dwight Howard may not be able to fill. Taking a look at his options for teams this offseason in the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and possible sign and trade possibilities in the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors certain options with these teams may be better options considering the surrounding roster being able to cover some deficiencies in his game.

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets have been interested in Dwight Howard since the Orlando Magic were looking into trade options. The Rockets have an interesting marketing concept in offering Hakeem Olajuwaun as a tutor for Dwight Howard, and a young wing duo in James Harden and Chandler Parsons who may compliment Howard as well as any pair of players currently on the other teams looking to win the Dwight lottery. James Harden may be the best pick and roll shooting guard in the NBA and hasn’t been able to properly use his skillset as he lacks the big man to run pick and rolls with. While James Harden isn’t considered a superstar wing player, Harden's all-star talent coupled with how he is able to compliment big men in his pick and roll game would make him a great second fiddle behind Dwight

Also Daryl Morey is a fantastic GM and should be able to keep a contender around Howard for years to come. With Morey's knowledge coupled with the depth of talent on the roster Dwight's likely destination seems to be the Houston Rockets

Dallas Mavericks

Outside of the rookies on the team waiting to be signed, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, and Dirk Nowitski the Dallas Mavericks have no other players on the roster. In the 2011 NBA playoffs the entire league witnessed how effective Dirk Nowitski could be with a defensive center such as Tyson Chandler on the roster. Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitski would likely provide a great complimentary skillset to each other on both sides of the ball with Dirk’s ability to space the floor to give Dwight more breathing room he wasn’t able to find in Los Angeles. Dwight’s help defense skill would alleviate Dirk on that end of the floor and take some of the pressure off of Dirk who was stuck with undersized power forwards or centers which weren’t great on defense throughout the post Tyson Chandler roster era.

Dallas’s major issue would be filling out a roster around Dwight Howard if the team were to sign him. As important as having the star power on the roster is, that does not replace the need for complimentary players to surround them, let alone having substitutes for an aging Dirk Nowitski and Dwight who has had issues with his back and shoulders throughout the years. If Mark Cuban has a master plan to acquire players to properly surround them Dwight should go there as their in no attempt at defending that kind of dynamic duo. Odds are, Cuban couldn’t pull off a real contender with the two of them as Chris Paul is likely to stay in Los Angeles and Dwight should his options open.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are in rough shape and have decisions to make with or without Dwight as to adding the proper players to not end up being a bottom feeder for years to come. The Los Angeles Lakers had a 70% winning record post All-Star break last season and if it weren’t for key injuries to large portions of the roster and Dwight having his own it is likely the team would have had more playoff success. The team Dwight Howard is returning to looks to feature Steve Nash and Pau Gasol as the lead players on the roster until Kobe Bryant returns from injury which is a whole matter in its own to deal with adding an aging volume shooting ball dominant guard to a team loaded with talent at all positions.

Rumors of Pau Gasol being for a more athletic younger player would help the roster but Dwight has pros and cons here too. The LA Lakers are one of the NBAs most storied franchises and have been known for building around great Centers, but with the team aging Dwight doesn’t want to be stuck in the type of funk Kobe Bryant had to deal with post Shaquille O’Neal era once Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash retire.

Los Angeles Clippers

The idea of the LA Clippers and joining Chris Paul seems to be one of the most outside shots. The Lakers would have to agree on terms of a sign and trade for Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin and hand the Clippers a superstar center for the next 5 years. The Clippers would also likely only agree to this deal if they found a team to take Deandre Jordan in exchange for a more prototypical power forward. This deal seems to be a fan favorite for Clippers fans but outside of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and possibly whoever Deandre Jordan was traded for this team may struggle to find solid pieces to fill out the wing spots. Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford are unlikely to cut it for championship caliber teams and the team would be depleted of pieces to trade for at that point.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have an extremely interesting young core and are one of the biggest longshots in winning the Dwight Howard lottery but it seems to be worth noting considering the roster full of shooters and borderline all-star talent to surround Dwight. The package for the sign and trade would be centered around Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut but Dwight Howard would still likely thrive in an offensive with Klay Thompson, Stephon Curry, and David Lee. Considering this Golden State team made it further into the playoffs than every above mentioned team Howard should give it more of a look than he has been in terms of consideration. Even with the Golden State Warriors being a dark horse if Howard were to force his way to the Warriors via sign and trade the team built around him may suit him better than al the other teams in the Dwight Howard lottery.

Author’s Notes and Overview

Dwight Howard has plenty of options going into free agency in terms of decisions and situations he could throw himself into. Personally I think the Rockets are the best option for him if he wants to win titles and contend for a long time. James Harden and Dwight Howard would form a solid duo and Daryl Morey would be able to put a good supporting cash around him on a year to year basis to support him. Dwight should also put consideration into Golden State if they don’t need to gut their roster. The Warriors’ system would work fantastic with Howard and having Curry and Howard on the floor provides some of the most interesting spacing between your two best players it may be a little easier to fill the holes in at times. No matter what Dwight decides to do it should be an interesting offseason, the Lakers will need to figure out how to move forward without him along with the Rockets and Mavericks needing to look to keep a contending roster they have promised the fans next season.


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