There have been numerous reports that the Houston Rockets star center Dwight Howard is unhappy with how things are going in Houston and wants to be more involved in the offense. This should not come as much of a surprise to anyone, because when isn’t Dwight Howard unhappy? In the 2013 offseason, Atlanta made a major push to try and sign both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard and create one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA. However, Howard, who grew up in Atlanta, showed little interest in returning to his hometown to play basketball.
Howard went on to sign a four-year deal for $88 million with the Houston Rockets. After putting great numbers in his first season in Houston, Howard has seen his numbers and usage rate decline the past two seasons. He is currently averaging just 12.7 points per game on just over 8 field goal attempts per game. Outside of his rookie season, both are career lows for Howard, and many people around the NBA are wondering if Howard’s time in Houston is coming to an end. He can opt out of his contract at year’s end, and the Rockets would be fools not to get what they can for him now if they do think he will opt out. There is no doubt numerous teams would put together enticing offers to try and bring Dwight Howard to their city, and the Hawks would likely be one of them.
I know there are a lot of Dwight haters out there. Why would we want him on our team? He’s a cancer! Look what he has done in Orlando, Los Angeles and now Houston. He drives franchises into the ground. There is no doubt Howard is a child of sorts. He loves the attention and wants to be THE GUY. Well in Atlanta, he would be just that. There are no superstars on this Hawks team, and Howard would serve as a great quick fix to Atlanta’s biggest problem over the last two seasons: rebounding. Rebounding killed the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals last season and is once again killing the Hawks this year. The addition of Tiago Splitter was supposed to help fix that problem, but it has failed to work as Atlanta ranks LAST in rebounding margin in the NBA at -5.0. While Howard’s scoring numbers might have dipped, his rebounding numbers have not and his presence alone can immediately turn what was a weakness into a strength for the Hawks.
Howard will also be the number one option in one of the best run offenses in the NBA. He will see the ball a lot more than he does in Houston, and I firmly believe he still has the ability to be a 20 point per game scorer in the association. His health is a concern, but if he can stay healthy, the Hawks would quickly return into one of the top forces in the East. Rick Kamla reportedly went on 92.9 The Game the other day and said that it appeared the following proposed trade would be accepted. However, here we are days later and we have heard nothing more to think that this is a deal in the works.
Here is the proposed trade:
Hawks receive: Dwight Howard, Jason Terry
Rockets receive: Al Horford, Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott
Yes, I am sure most Hawks fans could not imagine a team without Horford holding down the paint. He has been Atlanta’s most reliable player ever since he was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in 2007. However, he is a free agent at the end of this year and has already made it clear he will gauge his value next summer in free agency. He has every right to, and the Hawks have every right to deal him. It is a business, and frankly while Horford has been a nice piece, there is no denying he has hindered Atlanta on the boards. He only averaged 7 rebounds last season and is struggling to maintain that mark this year. Howard is a much better rebounder, defensive presence and possibly even a better scorer when given more touches. Everybody saw that Howard is capable of leading a team to the NBA Finals when he was with Orlando. He was surrounding by good pieces and a great coach. If the Hawks trade for Howard now, he would be put in a similar situation, and I believe he would thrive in a Hawks uniform. Atlanta is one of the few teams where he will be able to win now AND be the guy, so he could possibly be a Hawk for the long-haul if such a deal were to go through.