It only makes sense the Warriors get mentioned in the third annual Dwight Howard saga. They had cameos in the first two and they were awful. Now, Golden State is a successful, attractive destination in the NBA. And even though he doesn’t need to these days, co-owner Joe Lacob still loves the pursuit of the big fish.
So the fact that reports surfaced about Howard being interested in the Warriors is expected, if not redundant.
But is this even possible? Sure. In the same way it was possible for the Warriors to win a title. Except there were a few MAJOR obstacles in the way, namely San Antonio, Memphis and Miami. Golden State’s acquisition of Howard too has major obstacles. The first one being it’s only late May so the likelihood is Howard has NO IDEA what he wants yet.
Here are some other obstacles:
* The Warriors cannot sign Dwight Howard. Their salary for 2013-14 is up over $75 million, which would likely put them into the luxury tax (it was $70.3 million this year). So the Warriors won’t have the space to ink Howard to that max deal – which will be the going rate for Howard. That means the only way Golden State can get him is via sign and trade. Houston, Dallas and Atlanta all have the space to offer Howard the max.
* New CBA rules limit the amount of money players can receive in a sign and trade. The maximum number of years allowed in a sign-and-trade is 4. The Lakers can offer Dwight the fifth year. He’d make considerably more money staying in Los Angeles. Usually, NBA players don’t pass up on considerably more money
* A sign-and-trade with the Lakers (which is possible because the Warriors traded Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler to get under the cap) would require the Warriors to return some $20 million worth of salary to the Lakers. Since Los Angeles GM Mitch Kupchak is pretty good at what he does, he probably won’t take Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson in return. That means Andrew Bogut or David Lee would have to be involved in the deal. If you’re the Lakers, who would you want?
If the Lakers took Bogut, that would probably work for the Warriors. It would cost them Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson. But they’d be getting the best center in the NBA. Bogut only has one year left, so he wouldn’t hurt the Lakers long term plans. But you’d have to consider this: why would Howard sign-and-trade to the Warriors for the same amount of money he could get with Houston? The Warriors would weaken the supporting cast to get Howard. Houston, being under the cap, wouldn’t have to do that. Neither would Atlanta. And Dallas has the ability to sign Howard and another really good player to put with him and Dirk Nowitzki.
* Dwight Howard has proven to be a polarizing figure who drama seems to follow. A big part of Warriors’ success was chemistry. It seems pretty risky to add that element to the locker room. How will he respond when the Warriors are jacking up 3-pointers instead of dumping the ball to him?
With all that said, if you’re the Warriors you have to be talked OUT of obtaining Howard if you can. Bogut showed Golden State exactly what life could be like with a legitimate defensive presence in the middle. But Bogut also showed the Warriors he may not eve be 100 percent again. Dwight Howard is not only a great defender in the middle, he also gives the Warriors some offense at that position.
As bad as he was last season, he is still the best center in the game. And if you’re talking about winning a championship, Howard is the best answer to the Spurs, the Grizzlies, the Clippers, the Heat and the Bulls.
Another interesting note to remember: Dwight Howard was once deeply religious. His dad is a minister and Howard came into the league saying he was going to save the NBA. Not sure where he is on that end now, but he might view a preacher coach and fellow Christian teammates as a plus.