Dwight Howard To The Dallas Mavericks Is A Summer Possibility

Apr 24, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks in game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Dwight Howard and the Dallas Mavericks have been linked before, but this summer, they could finally come together.

The Dallas Mavericks have tried to lure Dwight Howard in the past. It was the summer of 2013 and the Mavs had been unsuccessful in signing Deron Williams the year before.

Howard was coming off a down year after he had been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and he was looking for a new home. Though reports stated there was a chance he could stay in L.A., his relationship with Kobe Bryant proved otherwise.

Ultimately, Howard chose the Houston Rockets as his new home and his numbers immediately started to drop. After a tough start to the 2015-16 season, the Rockets found themselves fighting for a playoff spot. Once December rolled around, rumors began to suggest that Howard was unhappy in Houston.

With that news, many began to believe that Howard would opt out of his player option after the 2015-16 season and become a free agent in order to pursue a max deal on the market. Just over a month later rumors rose about the Rockets being interested in trading him before the trade deadline.

The rumors bring up an interesting story for teams around the league as Howard’s contract is most likely too large for the majority of the NBA to trade for.

That isn’t the same narrative for the summer though, and the Mavs are a team that will definitely be interested. As every NBA fan knows, the Mavs are all about pursuing the biggest free agents on the market and it’s no secret that they would be interested in Howard, but according to USA Today, they are NOT interested in offering Howard the max, which is understandable considering his recent play.

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Say Dwight Howard ends up getting traded before the deadline. Unless he is dealt to a good situation that he likes, he will most likely still opt out of his player option and hit the market where he can get more money.

So what if everything goes as planned and Howard becomes a free agent? Would he want to go to Dallas and would it make sense for the Mavs to pursue him? The short answer to both of those questions is “Yes” and there are a few points that will help sum up why:

1. Chandler Parsons is always in recruiting mode.

It’s no secret that Chandler Parsons is one of the best recruiters in the NBA today. He successfully led Howard to the Rockets and Wesley Matthews to the Mavs. He was also a day away from helping the Mavs ink DeAndre Jordan to a deal. Parsons’ personality is something that other players like and he is a player that most guys tend to enjoy playing with.

In a recent article from RealGM, he basically came out and said that he would be willing to try to persuade Howard to come to the Mavs in the near future.

"“For sure. I’m talking to him (routinely), obviously, and we share the same agent with Dan Fegan….Obviously I have a really close relationship with Dwight and one year wasn’t enough playing with him in Houston. I was a big reason why he went there, so I’ll have to revisit that when the time is appropriate.”"

Parsons went on to explain that Howard and himself are still great friends, adding fuel to the fire of an evident recruiting attempt.

"“We still talk all the time….We’re friends, on and off the court. And I don’t just do it because he’s a free agent. It’s just a relationship we’ve built over the years. He still has a lot left in the tank. When he’s healthy he can go, and he’s one of the most dominant players in the league, so I’m a big fan of his game.”"

Besides playing with Dirk Nowitzki and being coached by Rick Carlisle, Parsons provides Howard with a great situation, where he has a former teammate and good buddy that he could play with. If Parsons and Howard are as good of friends as it seems, it could be rather easy to get him to Dallas.

2. Zaza Pachulia will be a free agent.

Zaza Pachulia has been a pleasant surprise for the Mavs this year. Averaging a double-double, Pachulia has looked like a major steal and he is a big reason why the Mavs are currently sixth in the West.

There’s just one problem: his contract expires at the end of the season. Looking at things from the outside, it’s seems like a no-brainer. The Mavs should give Pachulia his money and forget about Howard, who has been known to have behavior issues, but as we know with the Mavs, that’s not their style.

Last summer, they were quick to ditch the thought of bringing back Tyson Chandler and immediately ran after the brighter object on the market (DeAndre Jordan). There was no fault in doing that and they even had Jordan for a few days before everything turned into the fiasco that defined last summer’s free agency.

Since blowing up the championship team in 2011 and reloading with a new roster, it has not been a popular theme to keep players around very long, no matter how much they have helped the team (ex. Monta Ellis). Zaza Pachulia is definitely in for a decent payday this summer and he will want more money if he continues to play at a high level.

With the center position being a sudden need, that could open the door for another run one of the NBA’s most dynamic big men.

3. The situation would be right.

Say Zaza Pachulia finds a new home. That would leave an open hole at center for the Mavs. Inserting Howard into the roster would complete a starting five of him plus Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki, a group that would have a lovely spread of offense and defense.

Also, with Howard’s recent injury history, it would make sense for him to pursue a relationship with Casey Smith, the Mavs’ head athletic trainer.

Rick Carlise is known for maximizing the output of all of his players and there’s no questioning the fact that he would be able to do the same with Howard. Overall, his style of play would fit in well with a Mavs team looking for a center that can be dominant, one that draws a different game plan from opposing coaches.

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Now taking all that into account, what would be some issues with having Howard on the team?

First of all, taking Howard in would be a big risk for a Mavs team that has dealt with Rajon Rondo, another player with a similar behavior. Also, it says something considering the fact that Howard was moved by the Magic and Lakers because he was unhappy with his situation, and now he is unhappy with his role in Houston. Granted, the Mavs don’t really have any players with conflicting attitudes or tempers, but sometimes players are just destined to eventually become unhappy with every situation they enter into.

Next, what’s stopping Chandler Parsons from opting out of his contract and taking Howard to another team this summer? Though it seems highly unlikely that something of that caliber would happen, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

One more thing to take into consideration is that Howard is already 30 years old. If he was to go to the Mavs, he would be the focal point with Dirk Nowitzki not too far away from retirement. Would he really be worth all of the money and would he be the right player to build a team around? That’s a question that Howard has only answered once in his career and it came during the late 2000s in Orlando.

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Whether it’s a popular decision or not, Dwight Howard is going to be a name that is floating around Dallas this summer. With the only big-time unrestricted free agent being Kevin Durant, Howard could become a very valuable player to some teams.

With so many storylines to follow, including his friendship with Chandler Parsons and the Mavs’ free agency aggressiveness, this summer could get very interesting in Dallas.