Dwight Howard will reportedly soon be looking for his next NBA stop.
Shortly after a trade was announced that sent the eight-time All-Star center from the Washington Wizards to the Memphis Grizzlies, Shams Charania of The Athletic added another level of intrigue to the news. He reported that Howard — who’s played on four different teams over his last four seasons — would be waived by the Grizzlies.
But even at 33 years old with his production slowing, there are not a lot of free agents left on the market with Howard’s resume and cash-strapped teams will likely entertain the idea of bringing in the former No. 1 overall pick. If Amar’e Stoudemire — who last played during the 2015-16 season with the Miami Heat — is getting looks, Howard will surely land on some team’s radar.
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According to Spotrac, Howard has hauled in more than $240 million over his 16-year career, so money shouldn’t be the deciding factor for Howard. That would make him available for a contender — if they’re willing to have him. Howard is a big personality and could be a player a championship-caliber locker room isn’t willing to take on.
He also comes with injury concerns, playing just nine games with the Wizards last year. Howard underwent spinal surgery in November.
In his very short time in Washington, Howard averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds. It was the first time in his career that he hadn’t averaged a double-double. But there’s no doubt Howard still wants to play. He has expressed an interest to keep playing until his 40s.
“For me, I plan on playing this game for another good eight years,” Howard told NBCSports last year.
Here are the best fits for Howard when he hits the free agent market.
Dwight Howard Reunites with Los Angeles Lakers
Yahoo Sports reported that veterans are lining up to play for the Lakers, and Howard could very well be the latest addition to that group. That likely won’t have fans in LA jumping for joy.
Howard’s previous stay with the Lakers was not a pretty one. The Lakers picked up Howard in 2012 with a blockbuster, four-team trade. However, his tenure with the team only lasted a year, as he bolted for Houston in free agency after one season in the Purple and Gold.
But now with the big-man at a different point in his career, maybe the franchise would welcome a return — especially on a minimum contract.
Before signing with the Wizards last year, there were reports that Howard was interested in playing with LeBron James with the Lakers. It’s uncertain if James would be open to that idea, especially with Howard’s history.
Regardless, Howard is still a strong defensive presence. Pairing the former three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year with James, Anthony Davis and possibly Kawhi Leonard would be massive.
Dwight Howard Fills a Hole For Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks need a big man for the rotation, and Howard could be the solution.
Sure, the team has Kristaps Porzingis, who they locked up with a max deal earlier this offseason. But the NBA’s “unicorn” isn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess and willingness to protect the paint. Howard’s presence would allow Porzingis to focus on what he does best.
The Mavericks also have Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber on the roster as younger bigs with potential and the team also signed well-liked big man Boban Marjanovic this offseason. However, the Mavericks have notoriously been among the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. Even if his offensive game isn’t what it once was, Howard could help their cause in that area tremendously.
Other teams that could use the veteran’s presence at center are the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors.