The NBA rumors have been running circles around Dwight Howard for months now, and as the Houston Rockets enter their offseason and the uncertainty surrounding their big man grows, there is a new team emerging as a potential home for him — the Chicago Bulls.
After the Rockets limped into the playoffs and lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors, speculation has grown that Howard will opt for free agency this summer and look for a new home. That seems an even greater possibility with the Rockets looking for a new full-time coach, one who may not have Howard in the long-term plans.
There have been plenty of teams mentioned as potential landing spots for Howard, from the Boston Celtics to the New Orleans Pelicans. Now there is a new one as well. Fansided writer Michael Saenz connects Dwight Howard to the Chicago Bulls, writing that the Bulls may be looking to move on from the injury plagued Joakim Noah and could take a risk in Howard.
Saenz noted that everything would depend on what happens with Derrick Rose. If the Bulls can’t find a trade partner for their guard, they may take Jimmy Butler off the trade block as well and try for an immediate re-build, bringing in Dwight Howard and taking a run at the still very open Eastern Conference.
Howard could represent a good fill-in for Noah, especially with Pau Gasol likely exiting as well, Saenz noted.
“However, it wouldn’t be outlandish to believe that perhaps it is time for Noah and the Bulls to go their separate ways.
“With Gasol and Noah both exiting, the Bulls would have a glaring need up front. Assuming that they would be left with Bobby Portis, who could slide into the starting power forward position, and really no center. Unless you’re willing to bet on Cristiano Felicio, Dwight fits.”
There have also been NBA rumors connecting Dwight Howard to the team that drafted him, the Orlando Magic. An ESPN article declared the Magic as frontrunners to sign Howard if he becomes a free agent this summer, but sources close to the team say it’s unlikely that Orlando would want him.
As Orlando Sentinel reporter Josh Robbins noted, Howard’s athleticism has diminished after years of punishing play and mounting injuries, making him a risky pick-up for the Magic.
“His health record should be more troubling to potential suitors,” Robbins wrote. “Although he missed only four games to injury this past season, it’s difficult to ignore the 2014-15 season, when a right-knee strain cost him 11 games and right-knee edema forced him to miss 26 games.”
Robbins added that Howard’s development as a player has also been stunted since his time leaving Orlando. Despite working with two of the best low-post players of all time — Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon and former Rockets coach Kevin McHale — Howard failed to develop an all-around game. He’s still no mid-range jumper and has a free throw percentage under 50 percent, Robbins added.
Whatever happens to the NBA rumors regarding Dwight Howard, it seems increasingly likely that he won’t be in Houston next season. The team is searching for a new coach, and general manager Daryl Morey said the team is looking for an immediate turn-around after a disappointing end to the season. Howard represents a big part of that disappointment, as he has failed to deliver any semblance of a postseason run that the team had hoped when bringing in both him and James Harden.
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