May 8, 2016
Dallas Mavericks Rumors: Team Reportedly Wants To Target Dwight Howard This Offseason, But Dirk Nowitzki Could Stand In The Way

The Dallas Mavericks are rumored to be making a run at big man Dwight Howard this offseason, but there could be a big kink in the plans -- Dirk Nowitzki.

The Mavericks are reportedly planning to target Howard, who is expected to opt out of his contract with the Houston Rockets and become a free agent. On paper, it would be a great fit for the Mavericks, who are in need of a center with Howard's skill set and someone who can draw attention away from Nowitzki on the perimeter. Howard also has a personal connection to the team, the Star-Telegram noted, as he's close friends with Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons.

But there are rumors that Dirk Nowitzki could be standing in the way of the deal going through. ESPN Radio host Matt Mosley noted in a chat with fans this week that Dirk isn't on board with the idea of signing Dwight Howard.

Mosley explained why, via SportsDay.
"Dirk doesn't want Dwight Howard coming here, by the way. I think he'll make that known in his talks with Donnie and Mark. This team needs a rim protector. But Howard isn't someone you can build around at this point in his career. You make your best pitch to KD, but that won't go anywhere."
There are some big knocks on Dwight Howard, regardless of his destination. He is reportedly seeking $30 million per year, but has been criticized for failing to develop his low-post game. Howard's mid-range jumper is non-existent, and his post moves failed to progress in Houston despite access to two of the best post players of all time to help coach him, Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon.

As Orlando Sentinel reporter Josh Robbins noted, Howard has also lost much of the athleticism that made him such a dominant player in his early years in the league.

"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."

If the Dallas Mavericks end up out of the running for Dwight Howard, there would still be plenty of teams to pick up the slack. He has been connected to at least five teams, including the Boston Celtics, who have a strong young core and a number of draft picks to use in helping make a jump to the next level.

Back at the trade deadline, Fansided suggested that the New Orleans Pelicans could be a good fit, with Howard giving the Pelicans a strong defensive presence. The report suggested a trade that would send Omer Asik to Houston, offering him a chance to get out from the shadow of Anthony Davis.
"This would be an extremely interesting deal for both sides. With a 13-26 record, the New Orleans Pelicans are nearly as close to having the worst record in the Western Conference (five games) as they are to the eighth playoff seed (four games). With everyone except Anthony Davis being 100 percent expendable, the Pellies would be better off tanking for a top draft pick to pair with the Brow."
It's not known if the Pelicans would still be interested with Howard now hitting the open market, but other reports have suggested that the Chicago Bulls may be willing to jump in if the price is right.

If Dirk Nowitzki does stand in the way of a deal bringing Dwight Howard to Dallas, the team could have some other alternatives. The Dallas Mavericks are rumored to be considering some other big men, including the Miami Heat's Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks.

[Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]