The free agent season in the NBA doesn’t start until July 1st, but the speculation and rumors are in full effect. Los Angeles Lakers’ free agent center, Dwight Howard has the ability to sign a 5 year 118 million dollar contract to stay with the Lakers, or do what no other big name free agent has ever done, leave the Lakers for another team and take less money, a 4 year deal for 88 million to sign elsewhere.
It has been widely purported that the NBA ball clubs that Howard is considering are the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and staying with the Los Angeles Lakers. All of the aforementioned teams have, or can make very simple moves to acquire cap space to sign Dwight Howard to a maximum free agent deal outright.
An article by Lakers beat writer Mark Medina came out last night that mentioned that the Golden State Warriors are another team that Dwight Howard has interest in signing with next season. Unlike the other teams on Howard’s wish list, Golden State does not have the flexibility to sign him to a max deal and considering that they have a number of players that can pick up player options for this coming season, the Warriors might be well over the salary cap which will leave them with nothing more to over than a contract for the 5 million dollar per year exception.
The only likely scenario where Dwight Howard could land in Golden State is via a sign and trade. The Lakers are going to do anything within reason to bring back Howard, but the next best thing is to get something back in return for him if he does decide to bolt.
Golden State would need the Lakers to participate in the transaction in order for them to acquire Howard and that would give the Lakers the leverage they need to obtain some of the talented young players on their roster. While a player like a Steph Curry would certainly be off the table, there are still attractive young talents on the Golden State roster such as sharp shooter Klay Thompson, small forward Harrison Barnes and forwards David Lee and Brandon Rush that they could acquire.
Speculation about Dwight Howard impending decision will be rampant from now till July 10th, the first day that a free agent can sign on the dotted line of the new contract. Lakers’ fans need to be ready for the roller coaster that Howard’s courtship is about to take them on for the next 6 weeks.