Dwight Howard is going home.
Dwight Howard is also going to a team and organization built on selflessness, acceptance of roles, ball movement, and just fitting in. Is he up to that?
We’re about to find out because Dwight Howard is going to Atlanta, something broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by other sources.
That works out to an average of $23.5 million a season (fully guaranteed, no option years), allowing Howard to save face after opting out of a $23 million season in Houston. Some teams balked at giving him that number (but if Timofey Mozgov can get $16 million a year, Howard had to be in this range).
Howard can still put up numbers: he averaged 13.7 points a game on only 8.5 shot attempts, and added 11.8 rebounds a night last season. He played good defense, although not at the pre back surgery levels.
The issue with Howard has been ego and fit. While the NBA has trended smaller and looking for bigs who are mobile, Howard has demanded to play in the post and try to be Shaq circa 2001. That doesn’t work anymore — even true centers like DeMarcus Cousins can now step out and space the floor a little. It’s frustrating because Howard has always been a much better pick-and-roll big man than a post-up big, but somehow he let Shaq/Barkley/whoever get into his head and convince him he needed to be this old school center. Which he’s not.
If Howard buys into his role, defends and rebounds, and can stay healthy, he can be a quality center for the Hawks and improve that team (providing they can keep Al Horford, no sure thing). But there is a wake of broken relationships and fired coaches in Howard’s wake that make you question if things can be different this time.
Even back in his hometown.
Let’s be clear: There are 94 million reasons that Chandler Parsons chose Memphis.
Money is almost always the primary free agent motivation. But Chandler Parsons could have chosen to get his max money in Portland — which has far more hipster coffee houses he could frequent — or a number of other teams that would have thrown the cash at him.
So why Memphis? Tim MacMahon of ESPN asked him.
Text message from Chandler Parsons on why he chose the Grizzlies: “I really believed in Coach Fiz (David Fizdale). Nobody in the league has coached better wings than him. I trust [assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff] with my life. They have nobody like me, and their veteran, experienced players are a perfect fit with me.
“Toughest decision of my life though. Portland is incredible.”
Can’t blame the man for taking the cash.
Memphis is an interesting team with Parsons — providing he can stay healthy. That’s the gamble. But they soon will re-sign an elite point guard in Mike Conley, they will still have an elite center in Marc Gasol in the paint, and they will have a new coach in Fizdale to try and put the pieces together.
This is a good team, just a team that will fall short in a West with Golden State, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.
By the way, Chandler Parsons confirmed the move on Instagram.
If Larry Bird had extended a qualifying offer to Solomon Hill before he had a breakout season with the Pacers last year, Indiana would not be losing a nice young player.
Indiana’s loss is New Orleans’ gain.
The New Orleans Pelicans have reached a deal with the combo forward, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
That top end number is close to $52 million, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. With that much money (leaving the Pelicans will less than $15 million to spend) it’s hard to imagine Ryan Anderson returning to the Big Easy.
Hill showed promise last season both as a three and a small-ball four in Indiana. While his raw numbers are not eye popping — 4.2 points a game, 32 percent shooting from three — he was able to make plays, get to the rim, and play improved defense. The Pelicans are betting on his ability to improve his shot and take another step forward — if so this is a fair deal.
Hill is the kind of young, athletic player the Pelicans need to bring in so they can play the Alvin Gentry up-tempo system properly. This is a good signing.
Grit-and-grind is not going away — Memphis is getting better.
The Grizzlies have been in need of shooting for years and it appears they are going to roll the dice on getting it — and hopefully some stable knees — from Chandler Parsons. For max money. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news.
First, this almost guarantees that Mike Conley is coming back to Memphis. They will be better next season (not contender good, but better).
Parsons was smart to opt out of the $16 million a year option with Dallas.
When healthy, Parson’s versatility is what the Grizzlies need. He can shoot from the outside (41.4 percent from three last season), put the ball on the floor, has arguably the best shot fake in the game, is a good passer, and is a solid team defender. It is everything the Grizzlies need.
The question is his health — he played 66 games two seasons ago and 61 last season because of multiple surgeries on his right knee. The Grizzlies are betting those are not chronic issues but things in the rear-view mirror of the 27-year-old. If not, this contract will be an anchor. But it’s a smart gamble by Memphis.
We’ve seen this movie before: Last year Dwyane Wade threatened to leave the Miami Heat, reached out to other teams, but that ultimately ended up being leverage so he could get a better deal from Pat Riley.
Heck, we’ve seen that leverage move elsewhere this year: Hassan Whiteside met with Dallas only to use that to leverage Miami; Nicolas Batum met with Dallas but used it as leverage to re-sign with Charlotte; Mike Conley met with Dallas but appears close to re-signing with Memphis (notice the pattern here).
But some GMs think Wade is more serious about leaving this time, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Wade has taken discounts for years from the Heat to help out the franchise and give them money to chase other players. He wants to be made whole. He feels he’s been getting taken advantage of, and if Miami is not going to be serious he will look around.
Maybe he means it this time, but I’m skeptical he moves on because he’s more valuable to Miami than anyone else.
Wade earned an All-Star spot again last season when he averaged 19 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, then in the playoffs had some old-school Wade performances where he was dominant. However, he’s age 34, has chronic knee issues (despite playing 74 games last season), and he’s in decline (Wade’s efficiency took a step back last season, he had his lowest PER since his rookie season).
How much and how many years are other teams willing to pay? More than Miami eventually will, where he’s the face of the franchise? I still expect a deal to get done.
But maybe he’s the one guy not just flirting with other teams such as leverage.