Sunday 27th May 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Dwight Howard Considering Spurning Lakers for Spurs

Dwight Howard has now expanded his free-agency search to include every single team in the NBA.

I’m kidding. But at the rate the rumors are flying, that’s where this is headed.

According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, Howard’s potential landing spots now include the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs in addition to the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets.

Fear not, your favorite team will probably find a way to meander into the Dwight Howard conversation eventually.

Let’s address the now Jason Kidd-coached Nets situation, though. Brooklyn continues to stay relevant in these talks even though the team has no chance of landing Howard. The Nets have nearly $90 million on the books next season and aren’t slated to be below the luxury tax line until the 2016-17 campaign.

Kyler notes the difficult behind Brooklyn’s pursuit, but also reports the franchise is willing to do whatever it takes.

You mean to tell me that the Nets are willing to do whatever it takes to land the best center in basketball? You don’t say.

Of course the Nets want Howard. Only a handful of teams wouldn’t, one of them might even be the Spurs. But we’ll get to that.

For the Nets to land Howard in a sign-and-trade, not only do they have to put together a package that suits the Lakers and any other teams that will need to become involved, but they also need to ensure the trade puts them below the luxury-tax apron.

First of all, great note by Kyler. Absolutely awesome. So many people have reported the Nets’ continued interest in Howard without mentioning that apron. Which sucks, because it’s really important.

The apron in question is currently set around $74 million, meaning after the trade, the Nets would have to have under $74 million on their books leading into next season.

To be sure, that means that they need to acquire a player who will be making, say, $20 million next season while cutting more than $15 million from their current cap hold. In other words, the Nets have to send out around $35 million just to be able to take back Howard’s new contract.

Barring the complete loss of logic on Los Angeles’ behalf and the other two teams that would likely have to be involved to make this work, sending out any combination of Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace (I’m assuming Deron Williams is still untouchable) isn’t going to get you Howard.

Don’t worry your pretty little heads though, Brooklyn. Remember, you’ll have plenty of cap space in 2016. Kevin Durant will be a free agent then.

Moving on, the real news here is the Spurs, who may actually wind up having enough cap space to sign Howard.

That $26 million could increase substantially should the Spurs beat the Heat, win the championship and Tim Duncan elect to retire (though I hope he doesn’t). Financially, it is possible.

Is it likely? I have my doubts and you should too.

San Antonio should interest Howard, unless he’s an idiot. They win consistently and are still in the midst of extending the life of their dynasty. Playing alongside Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and potentially Duncan and even Manu Ginobili should intrigue him.

Our doubts consist of the Spurs actually interested. Gregg Popovich preaches absolute selflessness and San Antonio collectively tends to fly under the radar. Howard doesn’t. And if he felt marginalized or exploited by Mike D’Antoni—a player-friendly coach—in Los Angeles, just wait until he gets chewed out by Gregg Popovich. Rude awakening doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Admittedly, the very nature of this rumor makes me want it to happen. Kind of like the whole Dwight-Howard-to-the-Golden-State-Warriors chatter that seems unfounded at best.

In truth, this isn’t out of dire love for the Spurs. I do believe Howard could help them win if he buys in, especially with the core they have now. Mostly, I want Howard to play for the coach that berated him at this year’s All-Star game.

Think of the possibilities. Think of the headlines. Provided Coach Pop doesn’t up and retire with Duncan should the Spurs win another title, San Antonio would be the team to watch off the court next season.

Then again, let’s not hold our breath. There are at least 20 other teams Howard still has the potential to be linked to between now and July.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at in addition to Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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