Connect with us


NBA AM: What’s Next For Dwight Howard?

Is Dwight Howard going shopping in July or will the Houston Rockets pay the price to keep him? The San Antonio Spurs could be real free agent players in July too.

Steve Kyler



Please enable Javascript to watch this video

What’s Next For Dwight Howard?

The Houston Rockets are currently 35-35 on the season with 12 more games to play. If the standings hold true, the Rockets should end up in the postseason and what was supposed to be a title contending season will at least end in another playoff run.

There is no questioning that the Rockets have regressed this year from last year, and while there have been moments when they’ve looked very good, it’s clear that this core in Houston has probably run its course.

The Rockets have kept no secret of their desire to be flexible this offseason – with dreams of landing a major star like Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant or even Memphis’ Mike Conley.

In order to get that kind of cap space, the Rockets would have to part with Dwight Howard,H who is not expected to pick-up his $23.29 million Player Option for next season, which would make him an unrestricted free agent.

Even if Howard declines his option, the Rockets will carry a $24.446 million cap hold on Howard, until they either renounce his rights, he signs a new deal in Houston worth less than that amount or he signs a new contract with another team.

Howard will enter his 12th season next year and is eligible for the next tier of maximum salary, which would be roughly 30 percent of the expected $90 million salary cap, pegging him as eligible for a first year salary north of $29.5 million.

There was no shortage of suitors for Howard at the trade deadline, with teams like Milwaukee, Charlotte and Boston logging significant interest in trading for Howard. However, all three wanted Howard to opt-in to his final contract year before parting with assets. Ultimately Howard was unwilling to do that, but understands there are teams that want him outside of the Houston situation.

For the Rockets, Howard is something of a fall- back option if they don’t get the attention of a major free agent. They can and likely would offer more money to Howard if the bigger options fall through.

From Howard’s perspective, those close to him say it’s far more likely Howard goes shopping rather than re-upping at a discount in Houston. Given Howard’s declining production in Houston and the Rockets’ desire to play more of a perimeter-oriented game, Howard may go shopping not only for a bigger payday, but a team willing to play more inside out.

The Rockets say all the right things about Howard and wanting him to remain in Houston, but the economics of the situation say it will be hard for Houston to add significant pieces without subtracting Howard’s cap hold.

As things stand, there looks to be at least 17 teams that will have a maximum salary slot, and a handful of teams could have at least two maximum salary slots. With what looks to be more than 24 max slots available in July, Howard may have more possibilities than most want to accept, mainly because there is so much salary cap money and so few impact players to give it to.

The Rockets could still be the winner in the process because of their ability to offer more money than any outside team, but it does look like Howard will be elsewhere next season. The question is: will it be a situation like Milwaukee or Boston, or will a contender a little further along turn to Howard if they miss on other free agent options?

The Spurs Could Have Space Too

Several weeks ago, the good folks at The Vertical introduced the scary concept of how the Golden State Warriors could create enough cap flexibility to go after another max contract player, specifically Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant.

With the NBA salary cap swelling by more than 20 percent this July, the Warriors won’t be the only title contender with the ability to get under the cap. The San Antonio Spurs could too.

The Warriors have the means to get to a full maximum salary slot if they can give away some contract dollars, namely that of Andre Iguodala. The Spurs can’t get a full maximum slot without giving away someone like Danny Green.

As things sit now, the Spurs could get to about $17 million without parting with their future core guys: Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili did the Spurs a favor last season and crafted their current deals to give the Spurs flexibility; they both hold player options that they could decline and they could do that again this summer.

While the Spurs won’t likely be one of the max salary slot teams in July, they could have some significant cash to play with if they opted for it. If a major player like say a Kevin Durant wanted to be a Spur, they do have the means to get to a max slot, but it would mean basically gutting the roster. With that said, considering how willing some Spurs players have been in helping the franchise, it would be interesting to see how much the Spurs could retain while also getting to a max salary slot.

With so much cap space available this July, could the Spurs off-load Green’s contract with, say, the rookie-scale contract of Kyle Anderson to a team that might not get a free agent audience with a bigger fish?

The Spurs could end up being a free agent player too; they just are not as fun to talk about in that way as the Warriors.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @eric_saar and @CodyTaylorNBA .

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders



From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to:


Continue Reading


#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz



With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

Continue Reading

Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler



What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:


Continue Reading
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries



Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now