One year after going to the Los Angeles Lakers and after having played with them a season with no luck, Dwight Howard (photo ©Tim Wang) has announced that he reached an agreement with the Houston Rockets. The Lakers could offer him more money but the player chose to go to another team that still will give him $88 million over four years.
Dwight Howard’s decision isn’t a great surprise. Between him and Kobe Bryant the feeling wasn’t extraordinary and he didn’t like Mike D’Antoni’s style. The coach of the Houston Rockets is Kevin McHale, who makes his team play a basketball that’s not very different from his colleague’s, so it will be important to see if in the end the problem was related more to the Lakers environment than the way they play.
Obviously, this is a heavy choice first of all for Dwight Howard. He went to the Los Angeles Lakers to win the title but the first season was a disaster. Of course, with healthy players we can expect that the next season will be much better and the presence of Howard would have helped a lot. The reputation of the player is ambiguous, meaning that he’s recognized as a great player but in the U.S.A. you have to win to be truly considered among the greatest.
For the Los Angeles Lakers this is certainly a defeat. They lost Dwight Howard without getting anything in return and the salary cap is already committed to other players so they won’t be able to acquire a replacement at a comparable level. Even if Kobe Bryant could come back from his serious injury and the other players were in full health, for them there’s the prospect of another season in which they can win nothing.
For the Houston Rockets acquiring Dwight Howard is a win. The team was already reinforced last year with the arrival of James Harden, now there’s the center needed to make a further leap in quality. Omer Asik should become Howard’s backup but there are already rumors about his request to be traded because now he’d have too few minutes on the court. We’ll see how the situation will evolve.
In Houston they’re celebrating because now they believe they can be close to fight for the NBA title. The chemistry in the team will have to be at an adequate level and this will also depend on Dwight Howard. Many people in the league consider him immature, in Houston he’ll have to prove he’s really a player who can change a team, otherwise he risk getting a reputation as a loser.