Dwight Howard’s Wish List: Where Will He End Up?


Apr 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) reacts during the game against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 99-95 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard has become one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA. Just three years ago, he was the best center in the NBA and a respected player. These past two seasons have tarnished his reputation as he turned into a “Dwightmare” with his contract talks and his veiled intentions to both the media and his team.

But this is Dwight Howard, the best center in the NBA when healthy. The same Howard who is one-man defense, completely shutting down the paint with his strength and athleticism. Dwight says he wants to be on a championship contender and has said he has five teams on his wish list. These teams would be the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Golden State Warriors.

Some of these teams are great fits for Howard and allow little to no dismantling of their current core. Other teams require big changes in order to bring Dwight in.

The Houston Rockets are probably the best fit for Howard. Stan Van Gundy had it right when he surrounded Howard with a plethora of sharpshooters at the three-point line and let Dwight either isolate in the post or kick it out to one of his open shooters when doubled.

Houston took the most three-point shots per game and already have themselves a superstar in James Harden, who they can couple with Howard. They would have to get rid of Omer Asik or Jeremy Lin, as both are too expensive too hold onto with Howard on the roster. Expect Asik to be the one to be traded if “D12” does end up going to Houston.

The next best scenario for Howard is to re-sign with the Lakers. I firmly believe that Mike D’Antoni was a horrible hire for the job and constantly wonder how he continues to land head coaching gigs in the NBA. If the Lakers would’ve brought Phil Jackson back, I’m very sure that the Lakers would’ve been higher than the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

But the Lakers are still too talented to not be successful. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard finally seemed to click at the end of the year, Kobe Bryant is still one of the best scorers in the NBA, and Steve Nash has shown that he could be more flexible, as he turned into more of a scorer and Kobe more of a facilitator. If they Lakers could make a head coaching change, it would make a world of difference.

The Atlanta Hawks are the strangest possibility for Howard’s landing destination. The Hawks selling point is with the exit of Josh Smith, they now have enough cap space to sign both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and complement them with All-Star PF/C Al Horford. Although it’s not completely unfathomable, it doesn’t suit Paul very well.

From CP3’s perspective, that trio would be incredibly similar to what he had with the Los Angeles Clippers with Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. But the Hawks don’t have the supporting cast or the depth that the Clippers had this season and are essentially a downgrade for Paul.

The Dallas Mavericks are also an unlikely possibility for Howard. Pairing Howard with Dirk Nowitzki could be a lethal combo…but for how long? That team wouldn’t be built to last for very long as Nowitzki is already 34 years and had his lowest scoring outputs since his second year in the league. The team also doesn’t have a strong supporting cast and wouldn’t be a serious title contender unless it make big moves.

Howard would be a good fit with the current Golden State Warriors squad, but the Warriors don’t have the cap space to sign him. In order to acquire Howard, the Warriors would most likely have to go through the sign-and-trade route, most likely sending Andrew Bogut with either Klay Thompson/Harrison Barnes and a pick.

After this trade, I don’t see the Warriors becoming substantially better with Howard and could even see them becoming slightly worse. The current nucleus the Warriors have is already impressive and will continue to get better. Andrew Bogut is almost as good defensively as Howard is and doesn’t ask for the ball.

Howard, on the other hand, does want his touches in the paint. Also, giving up Barnes or Thompson would take away from the most effective system of utilizing Howard, which requires shooters all around him.

Lastly, Howard has become a locker-room nightmare, something that could tear apart the tight-knight environment within the Warriors organization.

Quite frankly, Howard just isn’t worth the headaches that come with acquiring him.