For years, he was the man of steel. Now, Dwight Howard leaves a trail of broken teams and jobless coaches wherever he goes.
Over the past two NBA seasons, the seven-time All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year once dubbed Superman has taken on a new nickname: “coach killer.”
Howard’s time with the Orlando Magic ended with head coach Stan Van Gundy being fired and the dissolution of a championship caliber team.
With the Lakers, Howard failed to form a solid relationship with coach Mike D’Antoni, and the rest of the team forced D’Antoni to throw his offensive scheme out the window.
Despite communication problems player-coach headbutting, Howard managed 17.1 points, and 12.4 rebounds per game last season. So with a “that’s all in the past” type attitude, the Warriors made moves this week in an attempt to become the latest destination in the Dwight Howard saga.
The 6-foot-11 Howard reportedly worked out with Stephen Curry at UCLA after hearing a pitch from Golden State co-owner Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers and head coach Mark Jackson.
Lacking in cap space, the Warriors could only acquire Howard through a sign-and-trade which would cost them Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes, or the expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins.
Golden State desperately needs the strong inside presence that Howard could provide on both ends of the court. As for the Warriors being put off by Howard’s injury-prone body or constant drama, Bay Area News Group’s Marcus Thompson II reported one source said:
“Are you kidding? He’s the best center in the game.”
Though considered the underdog in the race to nab Howard (against Houston and Dallas), the quiet star-power of Curry — along with a likable coach in Jackson and an intense fan base — just might be able to persuade him.
The Howard deal isn’t the only one on the Warriors’ plate this off season. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the Warriors are offering up All-Star power forward David Lee, who has three years and a hefty $44 million left on his contract.
Golden State offered Lee to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani, and to the Portland Trail Blazers for LaMarcus Aldridge, but were rejected both times.
Wojnarowski says though it may seem like the Warriors are set on getting rid of Lee, they still consider him an asset:
Lee, who suffered a torn right hip flexor in the first game of the playoffs against Denver, had surgery in May and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the upcoming season.
Whatever the end result is this offseason, it’s clear the Warriors’ taste of success has management trying to make big moves in order to continue to improve their squad.