Dwight Howard has declined his $23.2 million player option as he formally joins the free agency market this summer but rumors are swirling that he is contemplating of joining a team that with a winning attitude and a warm environment for next season.
With Howard’s decision, the Houston Rockets will have a more flexibility as they have a $45 million cap space that they could add in a pursuit of another talented player in the free agency market. The Rockets has stated that they want Howard to re-sign with the team but as ESPN has reported they could only give him a minimum contract despite the NBA announcing that they have increased the salary cap.
The report noted that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey had a talk with Howard’s agent while the team’s CEO Tad Brown personally had a dialogue with Howard, but despite all efforts to have him back, Howard has chosen to take the other route.
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Morey has already stated that they wanted to have Howard back on their roster, but if he chooses otherwise, they are ready to pursue a “star level player” this summer, who could play well with James Harden and the system that coach Mike D’Antoni has in place for the team. But since Howard has chosen to proceed with his decision not to join the Rockets under D’Antoni, the team can very well move on and pursue other free agents with the likes of Kevin Durant, Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, and DeMar DeRozan.
Shams Charania of The Vertical noted that sources stated that Howard himself informed the Rockets’ front office of his decision Tuesday. The 30-year old Howard has worked with renowned trainer Mike Clark in Atlanta to further strengthen him in the upcoming rigorous season. Howard was rumored being courted by the Dallas Maverick with the aim to relief the defensive pressure on Dirk Nowitzki, who also rumored to decline his player option to join the free agency market. But despite his strengthening condition, Howard’s number has certainly affected his marketability as he only averages 13.7 points with 11.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game which are very low from his career average he had back with the Orlando Magic at 17.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
A person close to Howard noted that the eight-time NBA All-Star is open to listening to more details as to his role with the Rockets if he chooses to re-sign with the team. The source told the Houston Chronicle that D’Antoni has expressed his willingness to have Howard back with the team as he would want to maximize his talent and skill in dominating the painted area.
The source also noted that Howard’s decision was a business in nature as he would want to get his last chance in landing a maximum deal to the tune of $30 million per season, which the Rockets are trying to evaluate. Now that he has made up his mind, negotiations will for sure be underway and both the Rockets and Howard has until June 30 if they could find a common ground for them to agree. If not, then let the courting begin then.
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