Dwight Howard, a 7 time All-Star, has decided to take his talents to Houston. The biggest free agent of the 2013 off season has made up his mind after spending the 4th of July in the mountains of Colorado. He was sought after by five NBA teams (Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angles Lakers, and Houston Rockets), all of which gave their best pitch to convince him that their team was the best place for him to win and win now. We got the final decision around 10 o’clock pm on Friday night, July 5th. This is a big move but just the beginning of the domino effect now in place. Let’s see how this changes the NBA landscape as we know it and what we can foresee for next year.
Houston Rockets get the 6’11” big man, Dwight Howard who averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, while dealing with shoulder and back injuries last year. When healthy, he is the best big man in the game. Team him up with the young star, James Harden and that is already a tough team. We are sure Houston will make more moves and those moves are key, maybe Ryan Anderson from the New Orleans Pelicans. The Rockets moved to the top 6 in the West and went from 25 to 1 odds, to 10 to 1 odds to win the championship this coming year. If they want that to become a reality, they’ll have to do some work and get a couple more pieces to complete this puzzle.
The Los Angeles Lakers realize this nightmare is now reality. They do not have much room to make many moves, they have a point guard, Steve Nash who is 39 and on his last leg, and an aging star in Kobe Bryant who is coming back from an awful injury (ruptured achillies). The Lakers franchise that Jerry Buss spent a life time building might have been dismantled in a single year by his son. They could use the amnesty clause on either, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, or Kobe Bryant. They could try to get some mid level exceptions and some veteran minimum salaries but this may be a long road to hoe. Two things we see in this move are Kobe Bryant is still chasing people away and the Lakers are now a team where players don’t want to go. This is very new to a once proud franchise, the Lakers. They go from 10 to 1 odds, to 25 to 1 odds but that might be too generous.
The Dallas Mavericks were a .500 team the year before (41-41) and did not getting any better. They lost O.J. Mayo to the Milwaukee Bucks and missed on the Howard sweepstakes. Jose Calderon signed on for four years but really that only puts a band aid on their problems. This team is in need of a makeover but might be in a great spot for the 2014 draft and free agent period, which is supposed to be the best one in quite some time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a run for Andrew Bynum but time will tell.
The Golden State Warriors added Andre Iguodala to go with Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, David Lee and more. They also traded some bad contracts, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush to free up even more room. They got better while leaving room for more moves. They might have lost on Howard but they might be able to beat the Rockets come season time. This should be fun to watch unfold. They are losing some of their depth to be more talented, let’s see if that strategy pays off.
The Atlanta Hawks have signed Paul Millsap and Demarre Carroll, both from Utah Jazz. They still might do a sign and trade with Josh Smith but either way they are in trouble for next year. Even with these additions, they are in running for a great draft pick next year and are still very much in the rebuilding process.
The Los Angles Clippers traded for an even tougher team, starting with a new coach, Doc Rivers and working down the line. They kept Chris Paul and brought in some great three point shooting in J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. Lob City has officially taken over LA and the Lakers cannot even do anything about it. Showtime is gone; it’s now Paul’s city and turn. The Clippers have to be the favorite next year in the West and they weren’t even in the running for Howard.
All too often we forget that even in free agency, for every winner there is a loser. Keep checking back when we do off season grades and more predictions for next year.