Friends of Rockets center Dwight Howard have indicated that the big man would have interest in joining the Knicks this offseason if he, as expected, turns down his player option in search of a more lucrative max deal. It’s unclear whether or not the Knicks have mutual interest in Howard, and it also remains to be seen just how highly he regards the franchise compared to other potential free agent destinations. Bucks broadcaster Gus Johnson relayed that Howard told him he likes Milwaukee and wanted to join the Bucks at the trade deadline. Discussions between Milwaukee and Houston reportedly hit an impasse because Howard wouldn’t agree to opt in for 2016/17.
The Knicks have approximately $55MM in guaranteed salary committed for next season against a salary cap projected to be set between $90MM and $95MM, though that amount doesn’t include player options for Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams. New York wouldn’t have the needed cap space to pay Howard his max of some $30MM for next season if both Afflalo and Williams opt in. Also complicating matters on the Howard front for the Knicks is the presence of Robin Lopez, who inked a four year, $54MM pact with the team this past offseason. Lopez set to earn $13,219,250 in 2016/17, and that would be a cap-crippling amount for the Knicks if they were unable to find a taker for him on the trade market. Howard and Lopez wouldn’t mesh very well on offense, and playing them alongside one another in a “twin towers” lineup would likely prove disastrous.
There’s little doubt that Howard is the superior player of the pair based on the statistical track records of both big men, but it is highly debatable that Howard is worth close to $30MM a season at this stage of his career. For the record, I say he absolutely does not warrant that sum annually, even if the cap does jump to almost $95MM. Even at his peak, I would have hesitated to pony up that amount, but with Howard’s advancing age, balky knee and back, doing so would be a huge gamble that would likely end in disappointment for the Knicks franchise and its fans. Pairing Howard with Carmelo Anthony would create an interesting tandem, but unless the Knicks add a competent point guard to the mix, the team would be unlikely to contend for a title, regardless of whether or not Anthony and Howard remain healthy.
This brings me to the topic of the day and the part where I turn this debate over to you, the readers. Today’s question is, Should the Knicks look to sign Dwight Howard this offseason?
New York has had difficulties luring star players in recent years, so there is no guarantee that Howard would jump at the chance to play in Madison Square Garden. The big man has also reportedly had issues with his diminished role on offense with the Rockets, as well as with teammate James Harden. While Anthony doesn’t dominate the ball nearly as much as Harden does, he is still a volume shooter and Howard may not want to share the spotlight alongside ‘Melo or Kristaps Porzingis, who might end up being the team’s starting center in the near future. One thing potentially working in the Knicks’ favor is that there may not be many suitors willing to sign Howard to a max deal, so New York could become an appealing option if it were to bid on him.
But what say you? Should the Knicks make a push to ink Howard no matter the cost, or are his age, injury concerns and potential cap hit deal-breakers for you? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.