We now know where Paul George will play next season. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward decided to re-sign with his team, staying with Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, we are still waiting on LeBron James and whatever happens with Kawhi Leonard.
And so NBA free agency is underway, with several players already agreeing to sign after the moratorium ends on July 6th. Yet one player whose fate is still up in the air is Dwight Howard.
After being traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Brooklyn Nets, Howard is getting ready to complete a buyout with his new team.
Howard reportedly has interest in signing with a contender, which makes sense given his age. The former three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year is eyeing the Golden State Warriors, as well as anywhere that LeBron ends up.
Via USA Today:
Eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard, who has yet to complete an expected buyout with Brooklyn, has serious interest in joining the Warriors. But there remains skepticism within the Warriors’ walls about whether he would be a good fit, with Howard also known to be interested in joining LeBron James (wherever he winds up), New Orleans and Washington.
Considering coach Steve Kerr just secured a three-year extension that reportedly brought his salary to eight-figure territory annually, it’s safe to assume he’ll have a significant voice here. And if Howard could find a way to allay the concerns about chemistry, this could give Golden State the kind of rim protector they need — especially considering JaVale McGee is also a free agent and may not return.
At age 32, Howard can still be a usable rotation player in the NBA. He’s not the player he once was, and therein lies the issue with Howard. It’s unclear whether he would accept a reduced role, particularly as a backup big man, his likely position while playing for the Warriors.
Howard has been notoriously difficult during his career in terms of demands, particularly when it comes to post touches and his value within an NBA offense. Golden State were rumored to have some behind-the-scenes issues this past year, but on the floor they were able to share the ball and play their system effectively. Howard has the potential to put a kink in the line both on and off the court for any squad, so joining the Warriors feels like a stretch.
Following LeBron wherever he goes is questionable as well. It’s possible that James ends up back where Howard once played, in Los Angeles, and it’s unclear whether the Lakers would be willing to take him back into the organization.
It’s always interesting when former top players enter the ring chasing era of their career, and a guy who has so thoroughly burnt bridges over the course of his time in the NBA like Howard might have a hard time finding a landing spot at this stage.