Dwight Howard was a very productive role player last year for the Los Angeles Lakers, and his season culminated in winning the 2020 NBA Championship. Dwight Howard surely felt happy about winning with the Lakers and adding a championship to his legacy, but his upcoming free agency looms large. In a weak free agency class, Howard could perhaps be valued as a winning veteran who could aid a younger team in setting their culture.
Dwight Howard will consider all factors in his free agency, but being part of a winning organization and solid minutes are likely high on the priority list. These upcoming teams could give Dwight Howard a good environment for some of the last years of his career; adding Howard to these teams could help them win the coveted NBA championship.
5. Boston Celtics
Dwight Howard is still an effective player: he averaged 7.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG last season; those stats came in a minuscule 18.9 MPG. If Howard were to get more playing time he could produce more effective play throughout the season, and the statistics would reflect that. That playing time could find itself on the Celtics, where the starting center is Daniel Theis, and Robert Williams comes off the bench. Howard’s veteran experience could help the young Celtics team finally get out of the Eastern Conference.
Howard on the Celtics would be what they need to make their defense more elite. He’s an athletic rim-protector whose inside defense would complement Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum’s outside perimeter defense. With the addition of Howard, the Celtics would find a mentor for Robert Williams while adding an experienced defensive veteran to their already stout defensive squad.
4. Houston Rockets
On the Lakers, Dwight Howard showed that he could step back and take a smaller role to win a championship. It was a hard process for the former All-Star, but it paid off in the ultimate prize of a ring. With that championship win, Howard redeemed himself in front of the Lakers fanbase. His disastrous first stint with the Lakers forgotten, Howard is now a Los Angeles hero. During this free agency, Howard could do the same thing with another franchise: the Houston Rockets.
Dwight Howard’s original time in Houston was highlighted by the fact that he didn’t mesh well with James Harden. With his newfound willingness to limit his role, he could be a great match with the current Houston Rockets. The Rockets have shown that they still need a big man to guard players like Anthony Davis. Howard could be the answer; he can catch lobs and finish inside. Dwight Howard is a great rim running center, who would fit well with the run and gun style of Russell Westbrook and the smooth playmaking of James Harden.
3. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors don’t currently have a proven big man besides Draymond Green. Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss are younger players, so the Warriors could look to bring in a capable veteran who can compete in the playoffs. Howard could play a big role as the starting center for the Warriors while sitting when they play small-ball. Howard would be a good center to handle the duties of playing during big lineups and guarding players like Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic.
Dwight Howard getting rebounds for the Warriors is an ideal scenario. Howard won’t demand a huge contract, would play well with their shooters, and accept a smaller role while still being a starter. Howard would be a perfect match for the Warriors: all he’d have to do is play defense and get rebounds while getting easy shots. Curry’s playmaking ability is vastly underrated, and if Howard signs with the Warriors, he can be the beneficiary of that underrated passing.
2. Miami Heat
If Dwight Howard signs with the Miami Heat then he will be taking on a smaller role. Bam Adebayo is their starting center of the present and future, and there is no way Howard is taking his spot. Howard could be a veteran presence in the locker room, and play during the important minutes. In the Eastern Conference there are players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, and inside defense is always welcome. Howard would provide a big athletic body that the heat could throw at opposing bigs on the defensive end.
Dwight Howard could play an important role off the bench as a defensive center. While he certainly can do more, he could decide to go to Miami if they pay him more money than other places. Miami has a competitive roster, and Howard could be one of the pieces to round it out to become a championship roster. Howard’s championship experience with LeBron James would be beneficial to the Heat, who are trying to win a championship with Jimmy Butler.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Sometimes, you don’t change what isn’t broken. The fact is, Dwight Howard won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. Howard is likely to take over some of JaVale McGee’s minutes and is a valuable presence as part of the Lakers’ big lineups. He could play alongside Anthony Davis but also hold down inside defensive duties on his own. With the Lakers, Howard is guaranteed a championship-caliber roster and one that he is familiar with at that. It is undoubtedly a good situation.
Howard could get more minutes and a bigger payday with other teams: a lot of players would loathe leaving a winning situation. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are going to be in Los Angeles for the near future; that means any role players that sign with the Lakers are instantly in contention for a championship. Howard could re-sign in a good situation with two superstars: he would also be familiar with their playstyles. LeBron James is an amazing playmaker who would help Howard get to his spots. The Lakers are the ideal spot for Dwight Howard and while there may be many factors that play into his decision, there is no better place to win than the Los Angeles Lakers.