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Dwight Howard Free Agency Watch: Part 11

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Well, here we are – Part 11.  Supposedly, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Howard’s decision could come this Friday.  I’m still waiting for confirmation from Buster Olney.

In seriousness, if true, I wouldn’t at all be shocked if we got some sort of leak regarding the announcement by sometime today.  If you’re Howard, you might want to bury the immediate maelstrom on a holiday and duck for cover.  So have your Tweetdecks out and handy.  There, I just ruined your 4th of July.

This is it.  After nearly two full years of discussion surrounding Dwight Howard, we are going to have a decision likely by week’s end.  By the time you all go back to work on Monday, this Rockets team may have become a title contender overnight.  Boy am I going to be depressed if he heads elsewhere.

I think Golden State is out.  The logistics would seem awkward and don’t seem to make much sense.  He’ll be making his decision but then would have to get the Lakers to cooperate in a deal?  Something like, “I’ve decided on the Warriors….uhh, by the way, would you mind giving me a hand?”  That’d be really odd and I think we would have already heard wind of the machinations by now.  To get to Golden State, Howard has to threaten to leave to Houston/Dallas outright first, to get the Lakers to play ball, and I think we would have already heard about those discussions by now from someone in one of the camps.  But if he could somehow make it work, I wouldn’t fault him.  Golden State, like Houston, is a great basketball situation with a rabid fanbase.  He’d also be taking less money to play for a winner.  (Remember that with the new S&T rules, a player cannot be signed and traded for the same amount as if he signed with his original team.  Yet unlike Dallas/Houston, Howard would not benefit from Texas tax laws.)

If he remains with L.A., we’ll know he suffers from Stockholm, especially after what reportedly was said to him in the other day’s meeting by Kobe Bryant.  I just don’t know how one can return to a team with a guy that point-blank accused him of faking an injury, publicly, showed no remorse, and then followed up with more patronizing in his final pitch.  But hey, L.A.’s one hell of a place to live if you’re rich.

Dallas is a similar situation, like L.A., where if he signs on, he’ll waste yet another year of his precious prime.  A colleague last year wrote a seminar paper on sports agents and fiduciary ethics and if Dan Fegan is able to successfully steer his client towards good friend Mark Cuban, that’ll be yet another prime case study into the topic.  This is really a matter which isn’t discussed nearly enough in the media, but while it probably doesn’t have any social harm, the power held by some of the more prominent agents in brokering their clients against said clients’ pecuniary interests is something that really needs to be addressed by each of the three respective major sports leagues.  But with pathetically weak players’ unions –which couldn’t crawl to begin with sans agency representation–and the league itself likely not giving a damn, fat chance on that ever happening.

Houston is hands down the best situation for Dwight Howard from any objective angle.

If he comes, he’ll be crucified, and I think that’s sad.  What does he owe the Lakers?  He’s a free agent who served the duration of his employment contract.  It will be said that he left the team high and dry with nothing after they gave up so much to get him.  False.  The value the Lakers gave up to get Howard (Andrew Bynum) was adjusted with implicit recognition of the risk involved with respect to him leaving.  In example, the Lakers only were able to get Howard to begin with because he had 1 year remaining on his deal.  If there was no risk of Howard leaving, they couldn’t have gotten him for just Bynum.  The risk was an inherent component of the value tendered in the deal.

But of course, if he leaves, all of that will be ignored and we’ll end up getting dumber from the discourse that ensues.  That’s usually the case with these things.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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