Dwight Howard

Pacific Notes: Howard, Clippers, Westbrook, Davis

Dwight Howard completed his two-day interview with the Warriors on Wednesday and a decision on his future with the team could be made as soon as today, tweets Jason Dumas of KRON4 News.

Howard will travel to Los Angeles for a workout later today with Draymond Green and Chris Paul, according to Dumas, who states that the team’s veterans have already endorsed the idea of signing the 37-year-old big man.

With 13 players on standard contracts, Golden State is hoping to fill out its roster with a reliable backup for center Kevon Looney. Dewayne DedmonDerrick Favors and Harry Giles are among the players who were brought in for workouts, while the team also reportedly had interest in JaVale McGee before he signed with Sacramento.

Howard wants to return to the NBA after playing last season in Taiwan. He’s an eight-time All-Star, but has changed teams every year since 2016/17.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers shouldn’t be considered the face of the NBA’s new player participation policy, contends Law Murray of The Athletic. Although Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have missed a lot of games over the past few years, Murray argues that the PPP wouldn’t have affected the team very much if it had been in place last season. He points out that the two stars missed the same game 12 times in 2022/23. Only two of those games were nationally televised, and Leonard and George were legitimately injured for both contests — Leonard with a sprained ankle and George with a strained hamstring.
  • In a KTLA segment (Instagram link), Leonard says the Clippers will benefit from having Russell Westbrook on their roster from the start of training camp (hat tip to Fan Nation). The veteran guard made a late-season impact after joining the team in February. “It’s very important having him back,” Leonard said. “… Now we got a Hall-of-Fame point guard that’s been through it. I think that’s going to be big for us coming into the year.”
  • Appearing on the Athletic NBA Show (video link), Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said the team was able to overcome its slow start last season because of stellar play from Anthony Davis. Davis was limited to 56 games, but he averaged 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds and L.A. was much better when he was on the court. “Anthony Davis being healthy, there’s an argument to be made that he was the best player in the NBA when he was playing,” Buss said.

Dwight Howard To Meet With Warriors

Free agent center Dwight Howard will meet with Warriors officials next week, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes (via Twitter), Golden State has brought several veteran big men in for workouts in recent weeks as the team casts a wide net in its search for a player or two to fill out the roster. Slater refers to Howard as a “real option,” adding that the 37-year-old’s mindset during his meetings with the Warriors’ brass will be a factor in determining whether the two sides move forward.

Howard is an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but was out of the NBA last season after playing for the Lakers in 2021/22. He averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game (60 appearances) for Los Angeles in ’21/22 before playing in Taiwan in ’22/23.

Howard’s 16.2 MPG in ’21/22 was a career low, but may be his ceiling going forward — at this stage of his career, he’s unlikely to be viewed as more than a situational reserve by NBA teams. If he’s willing to accept a limited role and perhaps a non-guaranteed contract, the former superstar should have a legitimate shot at an NBA comeback.

Dewayne Dedmon, Derrick Favors, and Harry Giles are among the other bigs that have reportedly gotten a look from the Warriors this summer (Giles has since signed with Brooklyn). The team was also said to have interest in JaVale McGee before he joined the Kings.

Golden State is currently carrying 13 players on standard contracts. The club will need to have at least 14 by opening night.

Celtics Notes: Backup Center, Mykhailiuk, Brogdon, Free Agents

The Celtics completed their search for another wing by signing Svi Mykhailiuk this week, so the next priority should be finding a capable big man to provide depth in the frontcourt, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston now has 14 players with standard contracts, one short of the regular season roster limit. Only 11 of those are guaranteed, although Mykhailiuk could become the 12th once the details of his new deal are reported.

Robert Williams and Al Horford will handle most of the minutes at center, but Williams’ injury history and Horford’s age create a need for a quality backup at the position. Washburn suggests Kristaps Porzingis could see some time in the middle, but he’s more effective at power forward and is more comfortable playing away from the basket. Luke Kornet will be in camp, but his contract is non-guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 10.

Washburn identifies Bismack Biyombo and Dewayne Dedmon as available free agents, but states that neither is significantly better than Blake Griffin, who played for the Celtics last season and has expressed an interest in returning. Washburn also mentions former All-Stars Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins, but says the organization doesn’t want to risk team chemistry by bringing in someone who’s unhappy with his role.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Mykhailiuk’s success against Boston may have sparked the organization’s interest, even though he wasn’t among the players who held workouts last month. Playing for the Knicks and Hornets last season, the 26-year-old swingman hit 24 three-pointers against the Celtics, the most of any opponent, according to Luke Scotchie of The Boston Globe. Overall, Mykhailiuk enjoyed the best shooting season of his career from long distance, connecting at 42.4% and making 1.3 per game.
  • There has been little news about Malcolm Brogdon since he was nearly sent to the Clippers in June in a deal for Porzingis, Brian Robb of MassLive notes in a mailbag column. The team hasn’t provided any updates on Brogdon’s health after he reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow in the Eastern Conference Finals. Playing again should help resolve any bitterness Brogdon might have over the trade situation, Robb states, but he may be less willing to sacrifice for the organization after nearly being moved.
  • The Celtics still may have interest in T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens after bringing them in for tryouts, but they shouldn’t offer more than a partially guaranteed deal to either of them, Robb adds in the same piece.

And-Ones: Team USA, Contracts, EuroBasket Qualifiers, BIG3

Team USA got revenge on the Select Team during Saturday’s scrimmage, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who writes that the senior team won 84-61 after three periods, which were 10 minutes each.

As Vardon notes, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram and Jaren Jackson Jr. started both days for Team USA. On Friday, Cameron Johnson was the fifth starter, while Anthony Edwards received the nod on Saturday.

Given that the team performed much better yesterday, it seems like Edwards might have the edge for a starting nod, though head coach Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to commit to anything.

Despite what he’s said publicly in terms of the lineup, it’s clear that Kerr has a major role in mind for Brunson, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

I think Jalen is such a natural leader,” Kerr said. “Because he’s a point guard, he immediately comes to mind. He’s the one who’s leading the ‘1, 2, 3 USA’ chant. Some guys just, it just comes naturally to them.”

With the Select Team heading home and the Americans having a non-contact practice on Sunday, the next test for Team USA as it prepares for the 2023 World Cup will come during Monday’s exhibition game against Puerto Rico, Vardon adds.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Which NBA players have benefited the most from the salary cap rising 10% each of the past two years? ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides a chart (via Twitter) of salary comparisons over the past four league years, and notes the highest earners have actually received the biggest bump in terms of relative volume.
  • The 32-nation qualifying field for the 2025 EuroBasket tournament has been set, as Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando relays. The qualifiers will take place over three different windows between February 2024 and February 2025.
  • BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube has a handful of former NBA veterans on his wish list, including DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Dwight Howard and Jamal Crawford, he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (subscriber link). The 12-team 3-on-3 league started at the end of June and runs through August 26, with the championship held in London, England.

And-Ones: Howard, Team USA, F. Jackson, Zikarsky

Longtime NBA center Dwight Howard was out of the league during the 2022/23 season, which he spent in Taiwan. However, he still believes he can be a productive player in an NBA rotation, he said during a wide-ranging interview with Zion Olojede of Complex.com.

“I know that there’s at least 15 to 20 teams that I could play for,” Howard said. “And I know there’s teams that got great starting centers, but I know I could be a great backup center. I know I can provide a team with 25 minutes of dominant basketball. And that’s not even scoring, that’s just playing defense, locking people up, protecting the paint, rebounding, and finishing around the basket. I’ve had my fun in the game. I just want to go out like a champ like I’m supposed to.”

Referencing a June interview in which Howard said he’d love to join the Kings, Olojede asked the three-time Defensive Player of the Year which five teams he believes would be good matches for him.

“Okay, you got Miami Heat. You got obviously, the Lakers. The Warriors,” Howard said. “The Kings. But the Kings, I would say the Kings got a couple centers so they probably wouldn’t. But the Kings. The Hawks. I’m from Atlanta, go back home with the Hawks.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Discussing his roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup for the first time on Friday, Team USA head coach Steve Kerr said he plans to lean heavily on Knicks guard Jalen Brunson and Nets forward Mikal Bridges. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, Kerr envisions Brunson having “a pretty big role” and intends to rely on Bridges defensively to match up against opponents’ high-scoring wings.
  • Veteran NBA guard Frank Jackson, who had a brief stint with the Jazz this past season, will continue his career overseas, having signed a deal with French team ASVEL, per a press release. Jackson had appeared in 214 career regular season NBA games since being drafted in 2017.
  • Rocco Zikarsky, a 7’3″ Australian big man, has decided to forgo a move to the NCAA in favor of joining the Brisbane Bullets as part of the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program, he tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Zikarsky, who will turn 17 next week, won’t be draft-eligible until at least 2025, but is considered one of the world’s best basketball prospects, per Givony.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic doesn’t want to go so far as to call them the “losers” of free agency, but has questions about the offseason moves made so far by the Raptors, Pelicans, Kings, Trail Blazers, and Nuggets.

And-Ones: Felicio, Howard, Silver, Eubanks

Former Bulls center Cristiano Felicio is re-upping with Spanish club Covirán Granada for a second straight season, reports Dario Skerletic of Sportando.

After going undrafted in 2014, the Brazilian big man eventually made enough of an impression on Chicago with his performance on the club’s 2015 Summer League team. He joined the Bulls on a two-year minimum deal in 2015.

Prior to the existence of the Bulls’ own NBAGL affiliate club, the 6’11” vet logged developmental time with Cavaliers’ then-D League affiliate, the Canton Charge, on assignment from Chicago. He would also go on to get some run with the Bulls’ G League team, the Windy City Bulls, throughout the rest of his Chicago tenure.

Felicio inked a generous four-season, $32MM contract to stick with the team in 2017, but fitness and health issues prevented him from ever becoming a major part of the Bulls’ rotation. Across his six seasons in the NBA, all with the Bulls, Felicio averaged 4.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 0.7 APG in 252 total contests.

He went on to continue his career internationally. Felicio first latched on with German club Ratiopharm Ulm in 2021/22, before joining Covirán Granada last year. During his first season with Granada, Felicio averaged 12.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG across 22 MPG.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • During an interview with TVBS News Taiwan (YouTube video link), 18-year NBA pro and future Hall of Fame center Dwight Howard has claimed he may need to take a significant pay cut to stick with the Taoyuan Leopards in 2023/24. “I was offered a contract which was 65% less than what they gave me the first time to come to Taiwan,” Howard said. “I felt like that was very disrespectful.” Per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Leopards CEO Chang Chien-wei revealed that there would be a new calculus for determining Howard’s salary in the ensuing season. Across his 20 healthy games last year, Howard averaged 23.2 PPG, 16.2 RPG and 5.0 APG.
  • During a recent conversation on The Dan Patrick Show (YouTube video link), NBA commissioner Adam Silver touched on the controversial involvement of the Saudi Arabian government in international sports, including how he felt it could impact basketball (h/t to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic for the transcription). “When the Saudis invest in sports, it gets outsized attention,” Silver said. “We allow funds to invest in teams but not control teams, not to have influence over teams… So to own an NBA team there has to be an individual with a certain percent of the team to control it.” The NBA changed its rules last season to allow sovereign wealth funds to invest in up to 20% of an NBA team, meaning the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund could theoretically purchase a portion of a club in the future.
  • Trail Blazers big man Drew Eubanks may be able to play for Italy’s national team in international team competition. Per Orazio Cauchi of Basket News, the Italian federation has been looking to potentially naturalize Eubanks. The 6’9″ center/power forward, a free agent this summer, has Italian familial ties, though sources inform Cauchi that it remains unclear whether or not that will be enough for him to earn a passport and be able to play for the club. The 26-year-old averaged 6.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 1.3 BPG across 78 games last season.

And-Ones: Carmelo, Howard, Allen, Flopping

Carmelo Anthony recently announced his retirement after 19 seasons, and he doesn’t regret the decision at all, Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated writes in an in-depth feature.

It’s weird to use the word happy, but I’m happy,” Anthony said. “It took a lot for me to get to that point, and to be able to see it all clearly. But I do.”

As Herring notes, despite plenty of individual and team accolades (with Team USA), Anthony was labeled as one of the top players to have never won an NBA championship. He says he’s “at peace” with that label, according to Herring.

That doesn’t bother me no more; that idea that you’re a loser if you don’t win a championship,” Anthony said. “For me, I’ve won. I won back in 2003, the night I shook David Stern’s hand on that [draft] stage. I made it out of Red Hook. I’ve won at life. The ring is the only thing I didn’t get. It would’ve been a great accomplishment, but I don’t regret it, because I feel like I did everything I could to get it.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Dwight Howard, Anthony’s teammate with the Lakers in 2021/22, says he “would love to come back” to the NBA if he finds an opportunity next season, he tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link via FanDuel TV). “I would love to finish off my career with an NBA team, hopefully win an NBA championship,” Howard said. The eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year spent this season in Taiwan with the Taoyuan Leopards.
  • Former NBA player Tony Allen has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Allen was one of 18 players charged with allegedly defrauding the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan by submitting false claims for dental and medical expenses that were never incurred. Allen has repaid the money that he gained and faces up to two years in prison, according to Cole, who notes that two other former players have pleaded guilty in the case and avoided jail time.
  • The NBA’s competition committee is considering adding an in-game penalty for flopping, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The penalty would be a technical free throw, with a possible trial run set for Summer League in a couple months.

And-Ones: Cousins, Howard, Vezenkov, 2023 Draft

Appearing on the All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said that free agent big man DeMarcus Cousins got in touch with him in October to ask why he’s not in the NBA, as Tristi Rodriguez of NBC Sports Bay Area writes.

According to Myers, he explained to Cousins that because of his reputation as a potentially disruptive locker-room presence, the veteran center has to go above and beyond what people expect from him.

“I said, ‘You want that answer? … Because people are afraid of how you’re going to act,'” Myers said. “And he’s like, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Well whatever the reason is, it’s here now.’ And I like DeMarcus. … I can’t blame him for him because of all he’s been through.

“… I said, ‘Here’s the issue, you have to act better. To get back, you can’t just be average. You’ve got to convince people.’ And that’s not really fair, but that’s just what it is.”

As Dario Skerletic of Sportando relayed earlier this week, reports out of Taiwain have indicated that Cousins could follow in Dwight Howard‘s footsteps and join a Taiwainese team, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Speaking of Howard, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will miss the next couple weeks for the Taoyuan Leopards due to a knee injury, his Taiwanese club announced (story via BasketNews.com). Howard, who logged 91 total minutes during a back-to-back set last weekend and averaged 30.5 PPG, 17.0 RPG, and 9.5 APG in the two games, said his body is still adjusting to playing so much.
  • In other international basketball news, Olympiacos forward Sasha Vezenkov won the EuroLeague’s “MVP of the Round” award on Saturday for the fourth time in 10 weeks so far this season, per a press release. Vezenkov, whose NBA rights were acquired by the Kings this past summer, is one of five draft-and-stash players we highlighted on Friday as candidates to eventually make an impact in the NBA. He ranks second in the EuroLeague with 20.1 points per game.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic prefaces his list of top 100 prospects by observing that the 2023 NBA draft looks “wide open” outside of the top 10, with a ton of first-round slots potentially up for grabs depending on which players have strong seasons. Vecenie adds that several of this year’s highest-rated freshman have been slowed by injuries or have underperformed in the early going, making the class more difficult to evaluate.

Stein’s Latest: Simmons, Mavs, Lakers, Freedom, I. Thomas

“Contrary to recent reports,” the Mavericks have no interest in trading for Nets swingman Ben Simmons, league sources tell Marc Stein in his latest post at Substack.

A couple of weeks ago, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported that the Nets had “cursory” trade talks with a Western Conference team, then later said those discussions were about a veteran shooter, and Simmons’ name came up. Begley cautioned that those talks may not have advanced beyond the exploratory stage, but Brooklyn was rumored to be “aggressive” in its pursuit of shooting.

On the heels of Begley’s reports, a Western Conference executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney last week that the Mavericks might be worth watching.

Dallas is a team to watch, Simmons would be an interesting fit next to Luka (Doncic) if the Nets were willing to take back (Tim) Hardaway and (Davis) Bertans. I am not sure how much higher the Mavs could go in terms of an offer but that would definitely be interesting for Luka.”

Stein says the Mavericks may have been mentioned “to try to create some sort of market for Simmons,” who has yet to regain his old form after missing all of last season. Simmons missed his fifth game of 2022/23 Sunday with knee soreness, though he seems confident it won’t be a long-term injury.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Lakers have taken a look at some free agents, but Stein gets the sense that they’ll wait until Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant return before making any roster changes. Both players have yet to make their season debuts after each had thumb surgery last month, but they’re expected to play on Friday. The Lakers are hopeful Schröder can provide an offensive boost, Stein adds.
  • After Dwight Howard signed a seven-figure deal to join the Taoyuan Leopards, other Taiwanese clubs are looking at veteran NBA free agents, according to Stein, who writes that Enes Freedom and Isaiah Thomas are among the targets.
  • Carmelo Anthony is another veteran being pursued by a Taiwanese team, but “it’s widely presumed” that the 38-year-old “is holding out for another NBA opportunity,” says Stein. Anthony averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds on .441/.375/.830 shooting in 69 games (26.0 minutes) for the Lakers last season.

Taiwanese Team Pursuing Carmelo Anthony

Could Carmelo Anthony follow Dwight Howard‘s footsteps and resume his playing career in Taiwan? The Tainan TSG GhostHawks are hoping to sign Anthony to a contract, RealGM relays via Focus Taiwan.

GhostHawks head coach Liu Meng-chu said the team’s ownership has given the go-ahead to make an offer to Anthony, who hit the free agent market this summer.

Howard signed with the Taoyuan Leopards on Monday.

Anthony, 38, appeared in 69 games with the Lakers last season, averaging 13.3 PPG and 4.2 RPG while coming off the bench in all but three of those games. The 10-time All Star played two seasons with Portland prior to joining Los Angeles.

While there has been plenty of speculation regarding Anthony’s free agency, there have been no known firm offers.

The six-team T1 League will soon start its second pro season.