While the world waits for center Dwight Howard’s decision on where he play’s next year, there are numerous theories and rumors going around as to what factor or factors will play the role in his final choice.
According to one NBA reporter, Howard needs to think long term and take a closer look at the Los Angeles Lakers books. If Howard re-signs with the Lakers, he could end up teaming with four-time MVP LeBron James and smooth scoring forward Carmelo Anthony.
Based off a column by CBS Sports reporter Ken Berger, Howard would be wise to stay in Los Angeles. The Lakers will have about $50 million in cap space come the summer of 2014. At that time James and Anthony can opt-out of their current contracts and hit unrestricted free agency.
The Lakers would have the cap room and clout, along with Howard, to sway two superstars to sign max-contracts, and create their newest dynasty. Despite a torn Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant is owed $30 million next season. But that comes off the books, and so does the $19 million salary of Pau Gasol.
Point guard Steve Nash is signed through 2015 and is the only player signed beyond 2014. Bryant has already said he is not done playing, and his competitive streak and obsession with equaling Michael Jordan’s six titles could mean a discount for the Lakers.
The 27-year-old Howard is considered the best big man in the NBA, and has already met with all of his suitors in the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, and the Lakers.
Berger essentially suggests Howard would be foolish to pass on the Lakers. Besides the ability to offer him an extra year and $30 million more dollars, they have the cap space, and 16 championships worth of experience.
Choosing any other team over the Lakers, especially Houston, would be short sighted, according to Berger. He also points out there has been no rumor of L.A. getting desperate and considering a sign-and-trade deal as a contingency plan should Howard bolt.
If James and Anthony opt-out of their deals and sign with Los Angeles with Howard already on the roster, the 2014-15 Lakers starting line-up could be: Nash, Bryant, James, Anthony, Howard.
There has been rampant speculation that James will opt-out of his current deal and re-explore free agency, especially with his Miami Heat teammates currently waning. Though they repeated as NBA champions last month, Dwyane Wade is aging and might be coming to the end of his prime due to recurring knee injuries. And forward Chris Bosh has proven inconsistent and disappeared in games.
Then there’s Anthony, who has become one of the best scorers in league history. Currently with the New York Knicks, Anthony may have taken the roster as far as it can go. Amar'e Stoudemire’s best years are behind him, the team is cap-strapped, and some have viewed the recent trade for 2006 draft bust Andrea Bargnani a confusing desperation move.
According to Yahoo!Sports, Howard will make his final decision on Friday, or it could go into the weekend. Wherever he lands, Howard’s decision will cause lasting ripples on the league. Ones that could decide who wins the next three or four NBA titles.