First, this awesomeness.
On July 5th when Dwight Howard decided to take his talents and hilariously inconsistent, fragile and 12-year old state of mind to the Houston Rockets, NBA free agency truly began. Then a few hours later the NBA – and world – was hit with the pause button because silly, joking, smiling Dwight Howard, to the surprise of nobody really, had a change of heart regarding his signing destination.
By midday Howard had beaten the odds and actually made a decision. Well, a decision guiding his ultimate decision. His camp relayed word to the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks organizations that Mr. Howard would not be joining their team. (Other potential suitor Golden State Warriors went another direction)
After some cookie cake shared by a shocked agent and the rest of Dwight’s assemblage over Howard’s newfound ability to simply just narrow down his options, he still still had to further decide things. And it was the biggest decision of the 2013 NBA off-season. And we…were…waiting.
Give credit to Dwight Howard, he made the decision with still five days to weigh his options. The favorite all along was the Houston Rockets, offering a young and compatible supporting cast headed by budding star and dentist-free James Harden and the no-longer underrated third-year forward and back-to-back fantasy champion team member of mine, Chandler Parsons. Also Jeremy Lin, not even two years removed from being “Linsanity.”
The only reason the Rockets, who pampered the hell out of Dwight in their meeting that involved players, coaches, front office members, former Rocket legends and even Yao Ming via Skype, was the undeniable pressure and potential backlash of Dwight running away from bully Kobe, meanie-poo Mike D’Antoni, an extra $30 million dollars and the allure of being a Los Angeles Laker(s center) shining under the bright – and focused – lights of Hollywood. Some people just can’t take that, like Nicolas Cage.
Even after he chose the Rockets on July 5th, in the back of everyone’s mind and given Dwight David Howard’s history of absolutely emburresing judgment and decision making – as well as the official signing date still over 100 hours away, all the 6 foot 11 goofball needed was a a couple hours to do the kind of #Waffling that doesn’t happen in a kitchen or a Denny’s or a Whataburger after 11 p.m.
Dude had the sports world on pins and needles and given his background there was pretty much just one thing he should most definitely seek to avoid in the public eye and that is EXACTLY what Howard did…..
He boarded a plane and flew back out to L.A. to do some meditation or reflection or double check if D’Antoni was still the Lakers coach one last time or something, but at that point the hyper reactive Lakers fan base had already proceeded to hate his guts and Rockets fans had just hesitantly committed to opening their hearts and trusting what comes out of the mouth from this naïve, uneducated young adult.
The one that demanded a trade from Orlando yet opted in to another year of his contract with the Magic instead of hitting the market. (A year later the Magic are thanking Dwight whose trade to L.A. that also involved Denver and Philly brought back Nikola Vučević, Maurice Harkless, Aaron Afflalo and three first round picks)
It was truly a fitting end to the Dwight Howard saga. Finally making his groundbreaking decision on his next NBA team – and he changes his damn mind hours later. In the hours following of course, via tweet of course, Howard said that he was signing with the Rockets, of course, and, of course, craving a fresh start. (Fresh starts usually mean things weren’t previously to your liking, not that you didn’t get spa treatment and every single chance possible to redeem yourself to your open-armed fan base, similar treatment Lamar Odom received in Dallas before we finally said “**** you, Lamar” months too late.
Also his regression in free throw percentage and a non-stop assortment of injuries used as excuses regardless of whether he was hurt or not – and often he was – made for an externally exciting tumultuous season for Dwight in what ended up being just a year in L.A. L.A. land. His final game, game four of a first round sweep at the hands of the organized Spurs, featured Dwight exiting well before the final buzzer with a second technical foul because Matt Bonner – yes, “Red Rocket” – got Dwight all riled up. He even Bynum’d his way off the floor.
At least he got high-fives from his teammates on the way out. Then again, Steve Nash will high five anything that breathes and has a tooshy.
In the midst of this Howard piece, our team was mentioned merely but the magnitude of Dwight’s decision to not come to Dallas and play for the Mavs was franchise-altering. But as a Mark Cuban apologist I hardly even had to do any apologizing and my excitement over the ensuing moves was genuine to my very blue Mavericks core.
In my next piece I’ll assess and judge the moves they made. Here’s a sneak peek. Monta Ellis; A++
Also noted by the boss in previous clippings, the Mavericks, to create just a weebit more cap space for the Monta Ellis signing, waived guard Josh Akognon and actual 2012-13 contributor Bernard “Sarge” James.
Sarge cleared waivers and was immediately re-signed by the Mavs.
The Grizzlies picked up Akognon, who had a very small cup of tea occupying the rotating 13th active roster spot for the Mavs (along with Chris Wright and Justin Dentmon) last season.
Memphis and the Mavericks also consumnated another small deal. The Mavericks received a previously protected (from picks 31-55, and now unprotected) 2016 2nd round draft pick [so nothing] for guard Nick Calathes. Calathes, who the Mavs acquired with the 45th pick in the 2009 draft has been overseas for four seasons (likely not at a Four Seasons) and with the emergence of new Mavs point guard Gal Mekel (from Israel, baby!) Calathes’ became expendable. And boy did the Mavs cash in! More on Mekel here.