We’re one month away from NBA free agency, when two names are supposed to dominate the news: Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. But it is increasingly looking like neither of them will seriously consider leaving Los Angeles.
We can focus on Chris Paul another day (we briefly talked about him when the Clippers were bounced, but I think letting go Vinny Del Negro only helps the Paper Clips) but today let’s take a look at Dwight Howard.
A brief recap of his career: No. 1 pick out of high school, took the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals, feuded with his coach (Stan Van Gundy), forced his way out of town, ended up with the Lakers, didn’t appear to get along with Kobe, was woefully disappointing last season coming off injury, and now it’s decision time.
Except it’s not really a difficult decision. This one is too easy. We can stop all the Houston talk, the Atlanta-is-an-option and his (rumored) Golden State pipe dream. Why? Take it away, LA Times:
The Lakers can offer Howard the biggest contract, a five-year worth $118 million. The most another team can give is a four-year deal at $88 million.
Does anyone really think Dwight Howard is leaving $30 million on the table? Yes, he will (probably) land another lucrative long-term deal after this one, but given his back injury history, why would he risk it?
And yes, if he got a 4-year deal from Mark Cuban in Dallas, the lack of a State income tax would be beneficial to Howard.
But when you look back at injuries to players like Grant Hill, Derrick Rose and Andrew Bynum, would D12 be willing to leave $30 million on the table?
I’d love for Howard to test the waters and strongly consider Houston or Atlanta. Hell, leaving would be great. It’d be a lot of fun for everyone in July. But will it happen? No way.