Dwight Howard has been one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA throughout the majority of his career. He started out with the Orlando Magic but has since been with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. Now that his career is beginning to wind down a bit, Howard is reportedly strongly considering a return to the Magic.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report is reporting that Howard would prefer to say in Houston, but that one of his backup plans is to return to Orlando.
At one point in his career, Howard viewed Orlando as a team that couldn’t get him to a championship. After spending time and failing with both the Lakers and Rockets, that mindset may have changed. Orlando is now one of the top up-and-coming teams in the league, and Howard may want to return home to help bring a title to the franchise that gave him his first chance.
Throughout the 2015-16 NBA season to this point in time, Howard has averaged 14.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He has shot 61.4 percent from the field overall and has knocked down 50.6 percent of his foul shots.
Whether the Magic would want to bring Howard back is another question. They went through a nightmare when Howard was demanding his trade out of Orlando. He was very rude in his push to get away from the franchise, and welcoming him back with open arms would be very difficult.
That being said, there is no question that Howard could be the type of missing piece that helps put the Magic over the top.
Orlando has put together a very talented roster and Howard would pair nicely with Nikola Vucevic in the frontcourt. Add in Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and the rest of the talent that the Magic have, and the team could be a threat in the Eastern Conference.
Scott Skiles is an excellent head coach as well and could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Howard at this stage of his career.
At 30-years-old, Howard still has a few years of elite basketball left in him. While he may not be having a huge statistical season this year, he has still been a big presence on both ends of the floor.
Simply having a veteran presence like Howard would help the young Magic roster. If he does end up returning to Orlando, there is no question that he would be the face of their franchise again. It would certainly make for an interesting storyline, just like LeBron James did when he returned to Cleveland.
Houston will likely make an effort to re-sign Howard if he does choose to hit free agency, but that doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to get him back. If they don’t offer him the type of deal that Howard wants or if Orlando comes in and shows serious interest, the Magic could leapfrog them on his wish list.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, Howard will have plenty of options. Houston and Orlando are not likely going to be the only two teams interested in him. Other teams will be interested in him at the right price and there could be a team that would be a perfect fit that interests him.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors surrounding Howard as the offseason continues to draw closer. He is going to be one of the most talked-about free agents if he does opt out, and the media will be all over the coverage.
Do you think that Dwight Howard should consider heading back to the Orlando Magic and helping them compete for another NBA Finals appearance? Would Howard be welcomed back by the Magic?
[Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP]