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Dwight Howard most likely won’t get max deal

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard will enter free agency this Friday searching for a team that will give him a max contract, a franchise star title, and a primary scoring role. What he will actually get couldn’t be any different.

In an article from Howard Beck on Bleacher Report, various general managers, from Western conference playoff teams to Eastern Conference veteran GMs, not only wouldn’t give him a max contract, but they also wouldn’t even dare to sign him.

Coming off last season’s disastrous 41-41 record, where the Houston Rockets were the most disappointing team throughout the season, Howard’s stock went from attention-grabbing to desperate. Howard seemed disengaged, unprepared, and uncompetitive, culminating in a 14-minute intervention on NBA on TNT’s halftime show. Fans around the league mocked the 2008 dunk champion Superman as soft, lacking the strength required in the association.

Howard averaged 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game during the last season with the Rockets, his lowest point total since his rookie year, and more often than not Howard couldn’t communicate with Rockets star shooting guard James Harden. His ego, which many claimed drove him out of Los Angeles, along with Harden’s ego kept the duo from creative enough chemistry to be a serious contender.

Now, entering his second stint in free agency this offseason, Howard definitely wants a max contract as part of his move to any new franchise. Yet, with the 7-footer coming off his worst season in the NBA both on and off the court, the ex-Superman will most likely have to accept a contract far less than the max, if he wants to stay in the NBA.

However, Howard does have a pick of some suitors, namely the Portland Trail Blazers, the Boston Celtics, and the New York Knicks. The problem with the latter, however, is that, after acquiring ex-Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose, the Knicks now have only $29 million left in cap flexibility. In addition to Howard, New York’s president and general manager Phil Jackson wants to sign a premier wing defender.

Dwight Howard

George Bridges / MCT

Thus, Howard to New York seems to be a stretch if the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year is so adamant about receiving a max contract. The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, are looking for a defensive anchor to support offensive wonder Damian Lillard. The Blazers have a lot of flexibility with cap space this year to chase a number of free agents, and reports show that the dejected Howard remains high on their radar.

The problem with Portland becomes Howard’s ego desiring the role of franchise icon, which already belongs to Lillard.

Finally, the Celtics fill both roles for Howard. While the Celtics already have a very above average squad, the lack of a superstar has plagued Boston recently, and Beantown could possibly provide a place for the 7-footer to become a star.

Thus, the ex-Rockets center has a decent number of suitors and will most likely find a new team. Yet, most likely, Howard will either have to accept a smaller role or take a pay cut to be the primary star.

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