When NBA free agency begins this summer, it’s going to be a mad dash for players such as Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. There will be many big names on the market, though, and he may not be considered as highly as he once was, but that does include Dwight Howard. It is highly expected that Howard will opt out of his Houston Rockets’ contract early, and it may lead to him signing with the New York Knicks.
There was a lot of speculation regarding Dwight Howard last season, and it included him being unhappy in Houston, not getting along with James Harden, and the team possibly trading him away. Now, he’s probably going to head out of Houston, and the Rockets finalizing a deal to hire Mike D’Antoni as their head coach is contributing to that.
According to the Houston Chronicle, there was a good bit of conflict between Howard and D’Antoni back when they were both with the Los Angeles Lakers a few years ago. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss even said that the team was going to be built around Steve Nash more than Howard due to the issues between him and D’Antoni.
Dwight Howard already being unhappy with his time in Houston does not make it seem as if he would be willing to return to the team. If the Rockets do end up hiring D’Antoni, which is close to a lock, then that could essentially push the big man right out the door for good.
While teams such as the Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, and Boston Celtics are rumored to have some interest in Howard, there are other places he may rather end up.
ESPN is reporting that the Knicks are going to target the top free agents such as Durant and Al Horford, but they’re prepared to look elsewhere if needed. They will have around $18 million to spend in the offseason, and that may not be enough to snag one of the key players.
That’s where Dwight Howard’s name comes in as someone the Knicks could look to target, pursue, and sign this summer. It’s even being reported that some of Howard’s friends have heard the center express his own interest in signing with the New York Knicks as a free agent.
In order for the pairing to happen, it would require him to opt out of his contract with the Rockets, and Phil Jackson would have to be as interested in Howard as he is in joining the team.
Dwight Howard’s numbers have declined over the years and they were way down last season. While it’s true that he has passed his prime, Howard could immediately improve any team that signs him. The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-NBA First Team player would fit in nicely in New York with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
Robin Lopez has done a great job at center for the Knicks, but Howard is able to provide bigger numbers on both offense and defense. Howard’s stats would instantly lift the Knicks in the middle of the lane and provide a much stronger force under the basket.
The Knicks need a jolt to bring them back into the Eastern Conference playoff race next season. They finished 2015-2016 with a record of 32-50 and in 13th in the East. That’s not something they want to happen again, and Carmelo Anthony isn’t getting any younger in his quest for an NBA Championship.
Dwight Howard is as good as gone for the Houston Rockets, and it’s pretty much going to be the hiring of Mike D’Antoni that seals it. Howard’s time in Houston has been marred by controversy and rumors much like his one season with the LA Lakers. Now, he’s looking to play in another big market, and the New York Knicks may have space for him to find his new home when the NBA free agency season begins this summer.
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