Dwight Howard Rumors: Houston Rockets Center Opts Out

Dwight Howard rumors suggest the Houston Rockets center is opting out of his deal. These Howard rumors won’t surprise Rockets fans, as it has long been assumed that he would test free agency for a new contract. A report from ESPN states that Howard already informed the Rockets of his decision, choosing to decline a player option that would have paid him about $23.2 million for the 2016-17 NBA season.

Howard will now be able to sign a free agent deal with a new NBA team during the offseason. The NBA free agency period begins on July 1, giving a lot of time for new Dwight Howard rumors to pop up. This is where nearly every team in the league that needs a big man will get mentioned as a possible destination for the All-Star center. The only team that is safe to count out of the bidding war would be the Los Angeles Lakers as his tenure there did not end very well.

During the 2015-16 NBA season, Dwight Howard started 71 games for the Houston Rockets. He finished the season with averages of 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. His scoring numbers were down a bit, but he was also taking fewer shots. Howard averaged only 8.5 shot attempts per game last year, which is the lowest number he has had since his rookie season. It is also a distance from the 22.8 points and 14.1 rebounds per game he averaged in the 2010-11 NBA season for the Orlando Magic.

Dwight Howard Against Kings
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Howard will turn 31-years-old during the upcoming NBA season, which should allow him to still secure another max contract. This means he will be a very expensive free agent, likely limiting the number of teams that could offer him that max deal. There are several teams that could really use a center and can also afford one, with the Portland Trail Blazers at the top of that list. Would the Blazers offer Howard a max deal to team him up with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum? Would Howard accept a deal to play in Portland?

There are a number of Dwight Howard rumors that might work on paper, but which would be very unlikely with the salary cap restrictions. Howard could provide an inside presence to teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Warriors possibly having the better chance at affording to sign him. Could Cleveland look at signing Howard and trading Kevin Love to another NBA franchise? These rumors should create some excitement, but aren’t very likely to lead to something.

So which teams mentioned in Dwight Howard rumors make the most sense? A report from CBS Sports came out in April which linked him to specific teams during the coming NBA offseason. The report stated that the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Charlotte Hornets would become the favorites to sign him to a long-term deal. All four teams can easily afford to sign Howard without making additional moves, which could be an easy route for the big man to take.

Dwight Howard Against Wolves
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

There is going to be a lot of chatter about what Howard should do next, and many NBA analysts will weigh in on what city would be the best fit for him. Howard found success with the Orlando Magic before, so he might be comfortable with returning to the area again. If he is looking to get out of the spotlight, though, a team like the Portland Trail Blazers or Charlotte Hornets could help him rebuild his reputation. NBA fans should get ready to hear a lot of Dwight Howard rumors because the offseason is about to be packed with them.

[Photo by Kyle Terada – Pool/Getty Images]