Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dwight Howard to the Celtics: a perfect ending to this Hollywood drama


You know the script of the story so far: Superman decides he can’t win a ring and seeks help from the hailed greatness of the Black Mamba to form a championship-worthy team. Once in the fantasy-land of Hollywood, this alliance of Superman and Black Mamba seeks to dethrone King James. At the time of the acquisition, 90 percent of anybody with an opinion picked a 2013 Finals matchup of the Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers. (And who wouldn’t like to see the Black Mamba match up against King James in an entertaining battle for the ages?)

That’s where the fantasy ends and reality begins. The season begins and coach Mike is fired for another coach Mike, injuries plague the team, and in the season's grand finale…Kobe Bryant fades away with a terrible injury. But not to disappoint the fans, an encore of the Dwight Howard drama is nowhere near from over.

ESPN's Chris Broussard has been monitoring the Dwight Howard situation very closely over the past couple weeks and has reiterated only exactly what everybody already knew: Mike D’Antoni is the major roadblock to his re-signing; the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are Howard's primary suitors. (Not sure why there’s the obsession with Texas but who knows, maybe he’s hoping some of the San Antonio mojo will rub off on him if he’s in the same state…)
A closer look shows that neither spot is really ideal for the unrestricted free agent who wants to be the main guy in a big market. The Rockets are hovering around the salary cap and do not have the most ideal supporting cast. Kevin McHale is all about the perimeter shooting (Houston tied for first in 3PT field goal attempts last season) which does not favor a low-post presence like Howard. The talent is there, but the style could easily be more of what Dwight experienced in 2013 with the Lakers.

The Dallas Mavericks have the ability to build around Howard because well…Dallas is nearly bare bones themselves. Mark Cuban currently has seven players currently on the payroll for next season: an aging Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, and Vince Carter lead the way. Four young players who combined to average 6.6 points per game in 2013 pull up the rear. Is that really an attractive option for a guy who (supposedly) wants to win a championship?

If the unrestricted free agent Howard wants to have a shot at a chip (in the near future), play in a big city, and be the big fish, than the Boston Celtics are the perfect team for him to climb on board with. Fresh off of cleaning house by dumping Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers, the Celtics appear to be in the midst of the dreaded rebuilding process...but Dwight Howard could make that process over in a matter of weeks.

Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Jeff Green are a capable, young core. Rondo has proven that he’s a (super?)star and a shutdown perimeter defender. Same things can be said about the defensive game of Bradley, who’s best known for the lock-down defense that he couldn’t play in the 2012 playoffs after falling to injury. Add the best inside defender (Dwight) into that mix and Boston fans might forget KG and Pierce a lot quicker than they originally thought. Not only does Boston have the recipe for Howard to succeed now, but they also have three future first round draft picks to help continue the realistic trend of improving further.

Imagine the reception that this press conference would get...
The fit is so perfect it’s scary.

The potential starting lineup would be as good as almost any other Eastern conference team on paper: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green/Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Dwight Howard.

That may not be quite on the level of what the Brooklyn Nets or Miami Heat currently are running with, but it’s significantly better than what the Mavericks would have to put together—not to mention they’re in the West. As for the Rockets, they have the talent but I just don’t see the style meshing with what Howard wants. Aside from Boston's current player personnel, those three first round draft picks that they have to work with give them security and hope for the future.

Two major hindrances in a Howard to the Boston Celtics scenario would be the coaching situation (which is, as of now, up in the air) and the salaries that the Celtics took on when they acquired Wallace, Humphries & Co. in the blockbuster trade with the Nets. Coaching could be a problem for Howard because he may very well want the confirmation that the system will at least in part be run through him. At this moment, there is no guarantee there for Howard. 

If it came down to money, Celtics GM Danny Ainge would do anything in his power to get one of the premiere big men in the league. Amnestying any of the players from the Nets would probably be option No. 1, and trading big salaries for just about anything would be option No. 2. Stealing Dwight Howard from the Lakers is an opportunity too good for Ainge to pass up.

Dwight Howard has no idea what Kobe is
really thinking about in this picture...
A Rajon Rondo-Dwight Howard duo is in the realm of Tony Parker-Tim Duncan in the early 00s: a capable, young point guard with a championship background paired up with a defensive stopper inside who can score from the post. The Big Fundamental clearly had (and has) a more refined post game than Howard—let’s be very clear there. But when you have a wizard like Rondo running the point, it’s very easy to see him putting Howard in a position to score when he gets the ball. Dwight knows that he would be a primary option and get more than enough touches in Boston. And in terms of acquiring future free agents (LeBron in 2014?) it would an appealing destination. Ainge would have the luxury to build around two guys who don't require the shot volume of superstar guards like Russell Westbrook or Kobe Bryant.

Boston would be the best fit for both Howard and the future of the Celtics franchise. 

The final scene to this dramatic comedy would be hilariously perfect if Howard and his indecisiveness decided to leave the Lakers for the Celtics—especially considering all sources point toward Houston and Dallas. If he decided to become a Celtic, it would be in the same ballpark of Babe Ruth leaving the Red Sox for the Yankees or Ray Allen leaving the Celtics for the Heat. (Somehow Boston sports are always mixed up in some controversial blockbuster trades involving big names.)

No great player has left the Lakers of their own volition. Shaquille O’Neal was forced out; Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all retired as Lakers. Kobe Bryant doesn’t look to be moving away anytime soon. Dwight Howard would mark the first time that one of the best players in the league opted to leave the lights of Los Angeles and the Staples Center for greener pastures. Maybe it would begin the Curse of Superman...

Howard landing in Boston would be the perfect ending to the ESPN-sponsored Hollywood special, The Dwight Howard Saga.

8 comments:

  1. Very Good article. Dwight would automatically make them contenders again, and the defense would be very good, and defensively back at the top of the East at least along with the Pacers.

    It's hard to imagine Dwight who's super subconsious to go to the Celtics. He wants everyone to like him, and but I guess if he doesn't stay in LA they will hate him forever, regardless but it would just be to an extremely higher rate. Almost Lebron decision esque the way especially if he leaves the LA with the way he ended last season.

    And IMO his reputation is tarnished forever.

    Your correct though Celtics would be a good fit with the right coach, if not though I'd say personally the Warriors would be right there as well.

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  2. If Dwight is really frustrated with the Lakers organization, I could definitely see him joining the Celtics to spite that front office. And I wouldn't quite equate it to LeBron's decision because 1) Dwight said he will make his decision quickly (July 10) and 2) unless something changes, he won't be doing any nationally televised program for his decision.


    His reputation could be tarnished but I'd also say it's worth pointing out that if he gets on a contender and wins a ring or two before his career is over, I think that all this drama will go by the wayside.

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  3. OK I'm sorry to bust your bubbles here but there is absolutely no chance this is ever happening or could possibly happen. 1) Dwight is gonna sign for $25 a year for 5 years and the Celts have no money to sign him. 2) You can't amnesty any players you've signed after the 2011-2012 season and the amnesty clause does not follow a player that is traded so that option is a no go. 3) Howard and Rondo's free throw shooting would be an absolute detriment and a half in the 4th quarter which would cost them way too many close games.4) Celts adding Howard at worst would keep them in the 6-8 seed range which would net us picks in the mid teens aka out of the lottery and we'd have to use those picks because with DH's contract on the books we wouldn't be able to use them as trade bait or as compensation for restricted free agents. 6) WE do have stretch clause rights on Rondo, Bass, Bradley and Lee which means we can waive them and stretch their contracts out over 5 years. WE have amnesty left on Rondo & Bradley but you can only use it once to waive the guy completely and not have it count on your cap & neither of those guys are getting waived for no return.

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  4. Well I could see that and I mean after I thought about it won't be to nearly the level of Decision but I could see the Lakers fan spreading the hate around the country if that was the case.


    Especially over social media

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  5. I realize that it's highly unlikely but it's the thought that is interesting. It would be very Dwight Howard-esque to throw a complete curveball when everybody is expecting that he signs with Houston or Dallas (with the Warriors having an outside shot with a sign-and-trade).



    Also that is an interesting point about the free throw shooting of Rondo and Howard...that definitely would not be a good thing come the fourth quarter. I would say that the main reason that the Celtics shouldn't get him is because of the hopes at getting Wiggins but then again, you literally have to win the lottery for that to happen.

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  6. I really hope the C's get Wiggins next year. BTW like the site name and the header is pretty sweet. Just started my new site a couple of days ago. Still tweaking a lot of code and tech stuff as I'm sure you're aware of how daunting of a task that is. Took a year off which I regret as my last site had a lot of coverage on Yardbarker but I was working 6-7 days a week bartending so I had to stop.

    If/when you have time I wrote a complete Celtics rebuild this AM, if you have time to look at it. I'll be checking your site out in the future and let me know if you have future interests in link sharing

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  7. That would be great for the C's organization. And thanks, appreciate that a lot. It has taken a lot of time to get everything up and running smoothly - and there are still some tweaks that I would like to be made but it remains to be seen if those changes are realistic. Send me a link to your article and I'll check it out when I can.

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  8. http://knoxsportsnews.com/project-gm-the-celtics-rebuild/

    There is the article link. Looking to do an update and repost directly below the Brandon Bass to Utah Jazz article now that Utah made the Biedrins trade and has less cap space. If you're interested in adding a paragraph with a link back to your website let me know. My site has had a lot of carry over followers from my previous site that may also be interested in checking your site out.

    If not that's cool. NBA Summer League starting soon. It'll be interesting to see how the young Celts bigs look. I still think Colton Iverson was the steal of the draft for the Celts

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