Let the circus begin! Dwight Howard is set to become a free agent and will entertain offers from other teams. As always, you can bet on where Howard will go and we look at the current odds for the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes.
The Laker experiment did not go as planned. A coaching change, injuries (Dwight recovering from back surgery, Nash missing 32 games, Paul missing 33 games, and more recently Kobe’s Achilles), and an early playoff exit have put Howard’s future in Los Angeles in jeopardy. Below we look at the current odds for attaining Howard’s services next season and why Howard would pick each team.
What team will Dwight Howard play game 1 of the 2013-2014 Regular Season for?
Los Angeles Lakers 4/7
Houston Rockets 11/4
Dallas Mavericks 3/1
Atlanta Hawks 6/1
Any Other Team 17/2
Lakers – It is all about the money. Howard is going to get a max deal and under the current CBA the Lakers can offer him five years and approximately $118 million. All other suitors will only be able to offer four years and $87.6 million. If Howard leaves Los Angeles, he is leaving $30 million on the table.
Rockets – The Lakers can offer more in terms of long term security but the Rockets even the playing field when it comes to cost of living. Texas has no state tax which would save Dwight $4.8 million in the first four years. Howard is young enough that he will get another max deal (barring injury) so the additional fifth year that the Lakers can offer is not as valuable. Add in James Harden and one of the best supporting casts in the NBA (Lin/Asik/Parsons) and Houston is a team ready to contend.
Mavericks – Dallas has the same financial concerns (four years compared to five) and benefits (no state taxes) as Houston. Mark Cuban will have to convince Howard that all of the pending cap space the Mavericks will have next summer will be used to build a contender around him just like they were able to do for a decade around Dirk. Maverick's fans can dream about the tandem of Dwight and the free agent prize of next summer, LeBron James.
Hawks – Home, sweet home. This is the one thing that Atlanta has on all of the other teams vying for Howard. Atlanta also has a ton of cap space this summer. So much so that they could possibly sign three stars from the group of Howard, Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and David West