With the start date for NBA training camp growing nearer each day, the Brooklyn Nets still do not know how their roster will look in 2021. They already lost Bruce Brown to the Denver Nuggets in free agency, and the futures of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant remain uncertain.
But regardless of how the roster looks on opening night, all eyes will be on the Nets this season. After a disappointing exit in the first round via a sweep by the Boston Celtics, fans are expecting Brooklyn to respond in a major way.
With their roster still incomplete, help could be on the way in the form of one three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner in free agent big man Dwight Howard. According to NBA insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, Howard is enamored at the prospect of joining the Nets as the two sides have mutual interest.
“Dwight Howard’s name has been mentioned in blogs recently as a potential Brooklyn Nets off-season signee,” Robinson tweeted on July 26.
“I asked him if he had any interest in the Nets. His response to [Bally Sports] was: “Yes I am, [I] would love that.” Howard’s an NBA Champ & an eight-time All-Star.”
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Insider: Howard Would ‘Fit Right in’ With Nets
When his career is over, Howard, will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. As an All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year Winner, and NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, he is one of the most decorated centers of all-time.
At 36 years old, he is no longer the dominant force he was during his prime years with the Orlando Magic. But he still has the athleticism to be a presence in the paint, which the Nets are in dire need of. Ben Stinar of “Sports Illustrated” thinks the former NBA Slam Dunk Champion could be the missing piece for the Nets.
“The Nets are a team loaded with stars and veterans, and Howard would fit right in. Last season, they had Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, who were also former All-Stars no longer in their prime. Both are currently free agents, so they are not on the Nets right now, and Howard would be a good replacement,” Stinar writes.
“This past season, they got swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Boston Celtics. Howard is someone who could be the perfect big-man off the bench to help them rebound and protect the rim on defense. The former superstar has career averages of 15.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.”
Howard Has Tools To Make Nets a Force
Despite being a shell of his old self, Howard has all the tools to be one of the Nets’ biggest contributors because of his size and athleticism on the defensive end. Pairing him with another Defensive Player of the Year finalist in Ben Simmons could create more transition buckets for the Nets, something they struggled with mightily in the first round against the Celtics.
But the big question is how the eight-time All-Star be utilized by Nets head coach Steve Nash. His track record with veteran players isn’t the most impressive. Last season James Johnson was waived, and LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin got buried at the end of the bench.
Howard could end up being the lone exception.