Atlanta Hawks Sign Dwight Howard to a 3-Year Deal
Free agent Dwight Howard is heading home. The Georgia-native has agreed to a 3-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks. The contract is worth approximately $70 million and cannot be signed and made official until July 7th.
Howard opted out of his contract with the Houston Rockets that would have paid him $23 million next season. Certainly part of the reason for opting out was financially motivated, overvaluing himself as a max contract player. Yet he still ended up leaving Houston without getting much of a raise.
The primary reason he left Houston is likely that he had poor chemistry with Rockets’ star James Harden. Howard was underutilized and this last season was the first time since his rookie year that he averaged less than 10 shots per game.
If that wasn’t enough to push Howard out of town, the Rockets added to it when they hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach. D’Antoni’s style — which focuses on perimeter play and bad defense — is ideal for Harden, but a poor fit for Howard. Howard briefly played for D’Antoni in Los Angeles and certainly did not want to relive that experience.
Atlanta is far more likely to utilize Howard’s strengths. He is 30 years old and may not be the 20 and 15 guy he once was, but he still averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds last season despite the poor situation he was in. He’s also still a respectable defender and rim protector.
The Hawks are at risk of losing Al Horford in free agency and should he leave, Howard would be an adequate replacement. Should Horford stay in Atlanta, the Hawks would be quite formidable in the low post.
(Atlanta Hawks Sign Dwight Howard)