It’s been an interesting past year or two for NBA center Dwight Howard, to put lightly. The former Washington Wizards big man was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason, putting him on his fifth team in as many seasons. Now, the expectation is that he’ll be waived soon and head to the free agency market.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to report the news of Howard’s future outlook. He played just nine games last year after undergoing season-ending surgery on his back in November. Now, with it appearing unlikely that Howard plays a single game in Memphis, his free agent market becomes an interesting talking point.
With that said, we’re going to take a look at a few of the best potential free agency fits for the 33-year-old big man with the assumption that he’ll end up in need of a new home soon.
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Dwight Howard Free Agency: Clippers & Pistons Among Intriguing Fits
While Howard averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in the nine games last season with Washington, he’s just one season removed from a strong year with the Charlotte Hornets. Howard played in 81 games that season while averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He also shot 55.5 percent from the field that year and logged an average of 30.4 minutes per game.
There’s an obvious reason to believe that Howard can still play at a fairly high level and make an impact for a team, but where his next home will be is the question mark. I’d be interested to see Howard team up with the new-look Los Angeles Clippers and play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
While the Clippers have both Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac, the thought of picking up Howard on an incredibly team-friendly deal could be a low-risk move. The veteran big man could help bolster the second unit while logging minutes next to Lou Williams, Maurice Harkless and JaMychal Green as well.
As for the Detroit Pistons, they’re another team who could benefit from taking a chance on signing Howard. While Andre Drummond is the clear-cut starter, they currently have Thon Maker and Bennie Boatwright, who’s a rookie, behind him. Howard could certainly jump in as the No. 2 option at center behind Drummond and log decent minutes.
Lakers, Celtics Among Other Dwight Howard Free Agency Options
The Los Angeles Lakers are an interesting option in a potential reunion, but it is worth noting that they have both DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee already holding down the fort. The big question is how much playing time Howard would receive with the Lakers, but if he surpassed McGee, it would mean a player with big upside holding down the middle for the second unit.
And while the Lakers have two solid options at center, they’re still fairly thin upfront when it comes to the bench. McGee, Jared Dudley and two rookies in Devontae Cacok and Aric Holman are currently holding down the other bench spots with the reserves at power forward/center.
The question for a potential Boston Celtics-Howard pairing is how high the belief in free-agent signing Enes Kanter is. Kanter played well for the Portland Trail Blazers while filling in for the injured Jusuf Nurkic, but Howard would be a defensive upgrade over him. The Celtics also have Daniel Theis as a solid backup, so Howard could be in a competition for minutes.
Beyond Kanter and Theis, the Celtics have second-year center Robert Williams along with rookies Vincent Poirier and Tacko Fall, although neither first-year player is expected to see much court time in 2019-20.