NBA  > General NBA  > Howard's Decision and the Wolves
July 5, 2013, 03:58 PM
The annoying Dwight Howard is at it again. While first suggesting he might make his decision by today, he's now saying he won't decide until this weekend -- or maybe not until next week. So what else is new. Why did God give such freakishly awesome physical gifts to such a flake? Ah, such cosmic questions are best left to philosophers, not hoops-heads like us who post on an NBA team message board. But you can't help but wonder.

As a Wolves fan, I've been trying to figure out how Howard's ultimate decision, whenever it comes, will impact our favorite team. Obviously, the best scenario for the Wolves would have Howard ending up with the Hawks -- taking him out of the Western Conference. But by all accounts, that seems a long shot to say the least. Therefore, among the more realistic scenarios, my thought is that Houston would be the best possible destination from a Timberwolves perspective. Here's why.

1. If he stays with the Lakers, he keeps them in the running for one of the bottom four playoff spots. Without him, given Kobe's situation, the age and health issues of Nash and Gasol, and the lack of overall talent on the Lakers, they become a fairly minimal threat to the Wolves bid for a playoff spot.

2. If he goes to Dallas he instantly makes a playoff contender out of a Mavs team that would otherwise not contend or perhaps barely contend for the 8th seed.

3. If he goes to Golden State it will likely only happen via a sign-and-trade that sends Bogut and either Klay Thompson or Barnes to the Lakers. The net result would be a potential superteam in Golden State and another viable playoff contended in LA.

4. If he goes to Houston, he will simply take a team that is likely to make the playoffs anyway and possibly turn them into a threat to the top two or three teams in the West. In other words, Houston will make the playoffs with or without Howard, which means the Wolves can't expect to displace the Rockets in the playoffs regardless of where Howard ends up.

Essentially, Howard would put Houston up there with the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs as one of the four elite teams in the West next season. After next season, if not next season, the Spurs will probably start to fade. In the meantime, the Wolves (if healthy) should be slugging it out with Memphis, Golden State, and a couple other teams for the final 4 playoff spots next season.

Where should Howard go?

I think Houston would his best move for several reasons. First, the Rockets are a perfect fit for him playing next to Harden and Parsons, coached by one of the League's best big men and mentored by the great Hakeem. Second, because there's no income tax in Texas, he can go there on a four year deal and come close financially to where he'd be at five years with the Lakers. If he goes to Golden State, it would likely only happen as part of a sign-and-trade that would help the Lakers. If Howard has a competitive bone in his body, he'll go to Houston without doing anything to bolster a major Western Conference competitor.

My prediction?

I think Howard will end up with the Warriors as part of a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. Why? Because it's California and Howard has some distorted image of himself as a quasi celebrity, which he probably sees as better suited to San Francisco than Houston. He might also be afraid that McHale, who knows the center position and has a breat BS meter, will demand too much from him. In any event, the Lakers always seem to land on their feet.
July 5, 2013  06:39 PM ET

Ok, it's official. My first inaccurate prediction on our new home for Wolves chat. I'm sure this will be the last. :)

July 5, 2013  10:42 PM ET

I agree. If Houston gets Howard I think the conference looks like this:

1) OKC
2) Rockets
3) Clippers
4) Spurs
5) Grizzlies
6) GSW
7) Wolves
8) Blazers

Man the west is tough. If the Wolves stay healthy and Rubio and Pek make strides toward being all stars, we could be really good next year.

July 5, 2013  11:11 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

I agree. If Houston gets Howard I think the conference looks like this:1) OKC2) Rockets3) Clippers4) Spurs5) Grizzlies6) GSW7) Wolves8) BlazersMan the west is tough. If the Wolves stay healthy and Rubio and Pek make strides toward being all stars, we could be really good next year.

I agree, Wolves need to stay healthy. If one of our major players go down (Pek, Rubio, Love) it'll be difficult to stay in the playoff race.

July 7, 2013  01:14 PM ET

Anyone hear the Shaq interview? LOL funny how these retired guys can be such hatters.

 
July 7, 2013  02:58 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Anyone hear the Shaq interview? LOL funny how these retired guys can be such hatters.

mad hatters yo!

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