Well, the dust has settled and a winner has emerged. Dwight Howard will sign with the Houston Rockets, giving the Rockets one of the best lineups in the NBA. For more about Houston’s potential with Dwight, read Jon’s article below. But what does it mean for the losers of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes?
What it means for the Lakers: The Lakers practically begged Howard to stay, making various posters with the slogan #StayD12. Well it didn’t work, and Howard is headed for Houston. The Lakers will struggle and could land in the lottery — even with the great Kobe Bryant. Losing for one year and adding a very talented rookie in next year’s stacked draft may be the best way for the Lakers to regain their elite status. The most talented teams in the West are young and fresh and the Lakers are as old as it gets. The Lakers need to rebuild now. While this will not go over well with Kobe Bryant and Laker fans, it is time to restart. But don’t worry Laker Nation, the Lakers will be back. Los Angeles is a marketable place, and free agents are lured by the lights and glamour only Los Angeles offers. Similar to the 2014 NBA Draft class, next year’s free agents are terrific, with superstars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant as well as some great young restricted free agents including, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George. And the Lakers will have enough room to sign at least two high profile free agents. The Kobe Bryant era is ending, but the future remains bright for the Howard-less Lakers.
What it means for the Warriors: The Warriors emerged as serious contenders for Dwight Howard, but came up short. The Warriors have a great, young nucleus and the potential to go far in the playoffs next year. The Warriors may have won by losing the Howard sweepstakes — they were going to need to trade some young players for Dwight, which would have been a considerable risk. The Warriors did get a nice consolation prize in Andre Iguodala, a versatile wing who can defend and rebound. The Warriors are on the rise, and they have a tremendous post presence in the David Lee. Howard’s pass on Golden State is not a big deal to one of the most exciting teams in the NBA.
What it means for the Mavericks: The Mavericks are in a similar predicament to the Lakers, an aging team with an aging star. Dirk Nowitzki is 35 years old and his team has no other stars around him. But the Mavericks have an active owner in Mark Cuban who is more than willing to spend money on free agents and will try to create a playoff team in Dirk’s last years. Texas has no state tax which was part of Mavs’ pitch to Dwight but ultimately their playing style was not a match for Howard. The Mavericks signed Jose Calderon, a talented but older point guard who is a great passer. The Mavericks are looking to sign another former Laker in Andrew Bynum, who has talent but degenerate knees that keep him from playing a complete season. Time is ticking on Dirk’s career and another championship run for the Mavericks is doubtful.
What it means for the Hawks: The Hawks were long shots to land Dwight Howard despite Howard’s hometown connections and relationships. The Hawks are completely rebuilding and looking to add young talent from the 2014 draft and free agents with the tons of cap space they will have available over the next few years. With Josh Smith gone and Jeff Teague looking to leave, Atlanta will be one of the worst teams in the NBA, and have a great chance at a top lottery selection. Hawks’ management did the smart thing and blew up their team, which was stuck in first round and out playoff scenario. Perhaps the Hawks will rebuild around a great draft pick and some free agents willing to join the effort.
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