Last week, it was reported that Dwight Howard opted out of his $23 million contract with theHouston Rockets to pursue the free agency. Howard, who has not had the best experience with the Rockets, has averaged a career low (besides his rookie year) on all boards last season. Furthermore, in an interview with Jackie MacMullan last month, Howard said, “I felt like my role was being reduced”. And with all of the rumors and dysfunctions that the Rockets organization has faced in the past year, it is likely that Dwight Howard will seek to revive his success elsewhere. The following teams are where Howard can successfully hit that reset button for his career:
With the latest news of Pau Gasol opting out of his contract with the Bulls and the possibility of losing Joakim Noah as well, the Bulls need more bodies in the paint. They need dominance near the rim. Howard could be the answer to that. Though Howard is not the player that he once was, he has the ability to re-emerge as the premier center in the league. Chicago will be one of the best places to do that because they are in the process of rebuilding. With the huge trade of Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday to the Knicks in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, and Jose Calderon, not to mention the addition of rookie Denzel Valentine, the Bulls are seeking to change the momentum and image of the team. And Dwight Howard needs just that in a possible team. Howard can rebuild his status as the Bulls seek to rebuild their franchise. And they will have the cap space to do it if they lose both Gasol and Noah. The Bulls, a team that was once known for their tight defense, have significantly declined in their defensive efficiency, and Howard can easily contribute to the team’s defense.
This is primarily based on the possibility of the Hawks losing Al Horford in the free agency. While the Hawks are dominant on offense, their rebounding is sub-par. The team ranked 24th in rebounds per game last season. Howard, who has the potential to collect at least 10 rebounds per game, can aid the Hawks in their rebounding. Similar to the Bulls, the Hawks are also changing the leadership of their team. With the trade of guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers,Dennis Schroder is likely to take over the team now. And Dwight Howard can benefit from those new changes as he seeks to revive his career. Furthermore, Atlanta is Howard’s hometown. And although it has not gone well for hometown heroes in this free agency (Durant not seeking to go to the Wizards, Rose leaving the Bulls), it could be a different situation for Howard. He was the number one overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.
Between the possibility of Hassan Whiteside leaving and the status of Chris Bosh, the Heat need more bodies in the paint as well. The Heat currently rank 23rd in points per game, and their rebounding numbers are sub par as well. Howard will prove himself to be both the offensive and defensive force that the Heat needs. And Howard could possibly bring the team closer to the championship status that they were during the LeBron James era.
Spark Sports NBA Analyst