NBA Rumors: Dwight Howard Leaving Houston Rockets For Charlotte Hornets

NBA rumors have been swirling around Dwight Howard. The 30-year-old center is expected to decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent. Howard will be looking for a new place to call home and hopefully compete for an NBA Championship. The former Defensive Player of the Year will be seeking for a max contract as well. Several teams will be interested in signing the former All Star during free agency. According to FanSided, one of the teams that will be interested in Howard will be the Charlotte Hornets. The team will be in need of a center next year.

The Charlotte Hornets are in need of a superstar and an interior defender. Dwight Howard could potentially fill in that void. When healthy, he has shown flashes of his old dominant self. This season, Howard is second in the NBA in field goal percentage and top five in rebounding. The negative from him this year is that he averaged the lowest in points since his rookie season. That was due to the offense being ran through superstar James Harden.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden
Dwight Howard has ties to Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford. They spent five years together with the Orlando Magic. Clifford was the defensive assistant for Stan Van Gundy. He got the best out of Howard defensively during his time with the Magic. The former All Star had a career high in blocked shots with 2.9 per game. He also had a career high in rebounds with 14.5 per game. Clifford was an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers when Howard was traded to them.

Dwight Howard also has ties to Charlotte Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing. That would make the Hornets very appealing to Howard. He would be able to play for Ewing and Steve Clifford. Both of them were assistant coaches for the Orlando Magics. That was when Howard was at the prime of his NBA career. The former Georgetown Hoyas star might not be an assistant coach after this summer.

Charlotte Hornets coach Patrick Ewing
The addition of Dwight Howard might signal the end of current center Al Jefferson’s tenure with the team. This season, Jefferson had an injury plague year. He played in only 47 games and started in only 18 games. This year, he is averaging 12 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. Jefferson lacks on the defensive end of the floor, but makes up for it on the offensive side. Howard is not as polished on offense but is better than Jefferson on the defensive end.

Dwight Howard could potentially be the second option for the Charlotte Hornets next season behind Kemba Walker. This season, Nicolas Batum was the second scoring option for the team. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game — a career high in points and assists. Batum is set to become a free agent this upcoming summer. It will be interesting to see if he resigns with the team. That would mean he and Howard would compete to see who would become the second scoring option on the team.

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker
Dwight Howard could also decide to go elsewhere. The former Defensive Player of the Year will have several teams that are interested in him. One team that could be interested in acquiring the big man is the Milwaukee Bucks. They are in need of a defensive presence in the paint. Earlier this season, the Bucks tried to trade for Howard at the trade deadline.

Dwight Howard is one of the best centers in free agency this summer. The Charlotte Hornets will be in need of a defensive presence in the low post next season. Howard choosing the Hornets isn’t as crazy as you would think. He has ties to the coaching staff and could be the second scoring option for the team.

[Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]