Dwight Howard is set to hit the open NBA free agency market this offseason. It is perfect timing for him, as things have been heading south with the Houston Rockets over the last couple of seasons.
It has become increasingly obvious that Howard is not happy with the way that the Rockets have used him. Now that Mike D'Antoni is coming on board, it is time for Howard to leave town. He did not fit in well with D'Antoni during their year together with the Los Angeles Lakers, and there is a good chance that he won't fit with him in Houston.
Things haven't been great with James Harden either, and there has been a rift between the two stars. That is never a healthy situation, which is why he should strongly consider leaving town in free agency.
During the 2015-16 regular season with the Rockets, Howard ended up averaging 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. He shot 62.0 percent from the field overall but struggled once again from the foul line at just 48.9 percent.
Looking ahead at free agency this offseason, there are a handful of teams that could use him. What five teams could be potential destinations for Howard when free agency opens up?
Perhaps the most obvious fit for Howard would be Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. They are in need of a star big man, and Howard would fit that bill perfectly. Placing him alongside Dirk Nowitzki in the frontcourt would be extremely difficult for opposing defenses to shut down, and they can afford a big deal for him.
If the Charlotte Hornets pursue Howard this offseason, they would take a big step forward. Al Jefferson is likely headed elsewhere in free agency, which makes Howard an interesting option, to say the least. Charlotte would become much more serious contenders in the Eastern Conference with Howard on board, but they likely still wouldn't be championship contenders.
Larry Bird and the Pacers have some money to spend this offseason, and pairing Howard with young up-and-coming star Myles Turner would be a huge move for them. They are hoping to play faster on the offensive end of the court, which is what Howard loves to do. Indiana is a piece or two away from serious title contention, and Howard could help get them there.
Pau Gasol is likely to leave in free agency, which is why Howard could make sense for the Chicago Bulls. Fred Hoiberg would have a much more dominant post scorer than he had this season. Howard would fit well into the Chicago offense and would be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Bulls.
Danny Ainge has put the Boston Celtics in a serious position to contend in the Eastern Conference. They have been searching for a star over the past few offseasons and now more than ever need to find one to put alongside Isaiah Thomas. Howard would be that guy for the Celtics and could add the legitimate post scoring option that the Celtics need.
Expect to see quite a few teams show interest in Howard when free agency begins this offseason. While he has had some issues with consistency in Houston, a change of scenery could do the trick for him. All five of these teams would have better roles for him than he has with the Rockets and could be of interest to him.
Which team do you think Dwight Howard should sign with in free agency this offseason? Do you think one of these five teams would be the best fit? Let us know in the comment box below!
[Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP Images]