The hype surrounding Dwight Howard‘s place of employment — both last summer and right now — is blaring. The reality is though, it may prove to be entirely immaterial, as it was this past NBA season.
This time last year the league’s fans were abuzz with talk of a Lakers powerhouse, fronted by the backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, and the two-headed monster of Howard and Pau Gasol. Add in the likes of Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison and there was definite reason for arousal in the Laker fanbase.
Of course, we know how that all turned out. Showtime turned into Slowtime in Notime, with an early season disaster resulting in a coaching change and a season that never really got off the ground. Howard was targeted as one of the reasons for the downfall, with his inability to coexist with Bryant and Gasol, in addition to his lack of offensive variation identified as major weaknesses in a supposed superstar.
Now we see Howard looking for another change of scenery, in an apparent attempt to revive his mojo… to find himself a situation that fits his skillset. His rumoured move to the Houston Rockets would even cost him in the hip pocket, but when you’ve got as much cash as he does (he’s looking at about $20m salary next season), does it really matter?
The other big suitor is the Dallas Mavericks. And don’t forget that the Lakers want to keep him, going as far as billboards and full-page newspaper advertisements with their #StayD12 campaign.
The big question is though, does it really matter?
Which one of those three teams will really have a shot at beating the Miami Heat next season? Perhaps the Oklahoma City Thunder? Or maybe the San Antonio Spurs or Indiana Pacers?
With the likelihood of Kobe Bryant missing significant time through injury, a Rockets roster that basically is a great shooting guard in James Harden and a European big in Omer Asik (that combo sound familiar?), and a Mavericks roster that is made up of all of the flavours of the disjointed rainbow, there is little to say that any of Howard’s likely destinations will challenge the illuminati for the trophy in 2014.
So why does everyone care? Because the hype machine says they should. The bigger questions should surround the tweaks made to the rosters of the big boys… and maybe even the next attempt at a superfriends situation in Brooklyn (with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce coming together).
Does it really matter? Tell me.