Dwight Howard rumors are front page news again. After the Houston Rockets loss on Sunday, April 24, Howard addressed rumors that Game 5 of the series against the Golden State Warriors could be his final one with the team. A report from NBA analyst Calvin Wakins on ESPN shows that Howard didn't really like being asked whether this could be his final game with the Rockets.
"Wow. Game 5 won't be the last game for us. We're going to try and win. I said we're going to try and win. You can say what you want to say and take it however your going to take it. But if we don't go in with the mindset we're going to win the game, why should we play? Our lives are on the line, let's go out there and play. [sic]"Either Dwight Howard just guaranteed that the Houston Rockets are going to win Game 5 or he mistakenly stated that he would be returning to the team for the 2016-17 NBA season. Howard may quickly regret the wording he chose to use in these post-game comments, but it's understandable he could have been frustrated following another embarrassing loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
Playing in front of the home crowd, the Rockets lost Game 4 by the score of 121-94. Howard played a full 36 minutes, hitting 7-of-9 shots from the field and 5-of-13 free throws. He finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and a block on the night. The downside to Howard's stats was that the Warriors outscored the Rockets by 24 points when he was on the court.
In four games against the Warriors this postseason, Dwight Howard has 58 points and 49 rebounds. He has posted a double-double in each of the games, but the Rockets still trail 3-1 in the race to four wins. Howard hasn't been used a lot on offense, putting up just 35 total shots, but he was also in foul trouble during the first two games of the series. Now he might need to have his best game on Wednesday, April 27, when the Rockets try to keep from getting eliminated.
There have been Dwight Howard rumors floating around the NBA for several years now. Even after he signed as a free agent with the Houston Rockets, rumors that he was unhappy began to surface. Now, the biggest rumor is that he plans to opt out of his current contract and test free agency. After another statistically successful season, Howard could command top dollar again. During the 2015-16 NBA season, he averaged 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.
Howard still has one year left on his four-year, $88 million contract with the Rockets. If he decides to play out the contract, he will earn just over $23 million for the 2016-17 NBA season. Opting out could guarantee that he receives another max contract, though, giving him a lot of incentive to seek a new deal. While it's still possible that he could choose to re-sign with the Rockets for another four or five seasons, it has started to look more likely that he will seek to take his talents to a new franchise.
When the NBA offseason really gets started this summer, it is expected that there will be a number of franchises looking to sign Howard. While he does have deficiencies at the free throw line, there aren't that many centers with his size and rebounding abilities available. Even though a team like the Los Angeles Lakers might make the most sense with how that roster was constructed, he may have already played that card with his one year there. NBA fans should prepare for a whole new round of Dwight Howard rumors to begin once the postseason is over for the Houston Rockets.
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