A funny thing happened to Free Agent center Dwight Howard, on the way to signing a new contract; the Golden State Warriors became a viable candidate to sign him. The “San Jose Mercury News” reported Thursday, that the Warriors are now considered in the mix with the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks, as the team he will sign a four-year pact with. There is however a major obstacle in their path, the NBA salary cap, so Golden State would need to clear cap space or work out a sign and trade with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to sources close to the All-Star big man, Howard was very impressed with Golden State’s presentation when he met with them earlier this week. The Warriors were one of five teams that the center met with, but were not thought to be serious contenders prior to the meeting. The team believes that their chances of convincing Howard to sign with them are realistic; now how do they fit his max-contract salary on their payroll, without being subjected to the NBA Luxury Tax?
The franchise has two options that could allow them to bring D-12 on board for next season; work out a sign and trade deal with the club Howard played for this past season the Lakers, or getting other teams to take on three large contracts that expire at the end of next season. Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, are the three veterans that would have to be moved to make room for Howard, whether Golden State can find a partner willing to trade with them, remains to be seen.
Why would the Lakers help the team in the Bay Area land the best center playing in the Association? Simply to keep the Rockets and Mavericks from acquiring him. If Los Angeles wants to make at least one more run in the “Kobe Bryant Era,” to win another Title, it would be far tougher to accomplish if Howard went to Houston or Dallas, two teams that would automatically be perceived as the front-runners in the West by adding the center. Most likely it would take Golden State longer to reach the level of being legitimate challengers to represent the Conference in the Finals.
Howard signing with the Warriors would change the balance of power in the Western Conference and reward a fan-base that has been patient since the days of Rick Barry in the seventies. They have a talented young coach in Mark Jackson, who took them to the Playoffs this season. Putting “Superman” on the roster, would greatly accelerate the team’s growth curve.