Dwight Howard will almost surely look back at his decision to opt out of his player option with the Houston Rockets with regret from a financial perspective.
At least, that’s the sentiment you gather when reading what NBA team executives told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. In a stark column that exposes how some of his peers and others who have worked with him view him in the same light you’d perceive a class clown, Howard’s expectation of a max deal this summer appear to be sorely misguided.
“Team executives who spoke to B/R predicted Howard might command $10-15 million in a starting salary — far short of the $23.3 million he just opted out of in Houston, and less than half the $31 million max salary he is said to be seeking. He might also have to settle for a short deal.”
Beck delved into Howard’s perception of himself versus how the rest of the league looks at him.
“Howard views himself as a primary scorer and a franchise star, while the rest of the NBA views him as a third option who should focus on defense,” Beck wrote.
There is also the general view that Howard has a misconception of his value in today’s NBA.
At his best, he was a guy who could receive passes down low to use his size and athleticism to dominate his opponent on the low post. However, as teams have moved into more of a fast-paced, spread-the-floor approach, his plodding low-post moves just don’t fit like they used to fit.
But that’s not how he sees himself.
“To Dwight, it’s an insult to him to be told that you could be a better version of DeAndre Jordan,” a person who has worked with Howard said, per Beck. “He believes that a team and an offense would be successful if it’s run through him. And that’s the way he believes the game should be played.”
One person with ties to Howard put it this way: “There’s no clear landing space for him. There’s no team that’s a Dwight Howard away from being significantly better.”
Anyone who has followed Howard’s career likely believes he doesn’t have what it takes to take his talent to the level required to win a championship. And based on Beck’s discussions with people around the league, it would appear this is just a known fact.
It remains to be seen if there is a team out there that views Howard in a different light — a team that still believes he does have the offensive repertoire to be a central figure, worthy of a max deal, or even anywhere close to one. But at this point it seems clear he isn’t a top player anymore worth that kind of investment.
We’ll soon find out, as NBA free agency officially begins on Friday, July 1.