Dwight Howard is going home, but it hasn’t been an emotional return on the level of LeBron James heading back to Cleveland. Howard recently signed with the Atlanta Hawks, although it won’t become official until July 7. This could be the last big contract of his career. The center will make $70.5 million over the next three years.
Howard has now burned bridges with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets; his antics are growing old with folks who follow the NBA on a regular basis, and he’s running out of chances. His age doesn’t help his cause. His body is breaking down at a rapid pace, and the Hawks are banking on him to be brilliant at the worst possible moment. They have definitely hit rock bottom.
Howard better save his money, because it would be shocking if he made any cash as an analyst or coach after his playing career is over. He probably should’ve stayed in Orlando from the beginning, but maybe his homecoming will inspire some humility and hard work.
The Hawks will go into a tailspin next season, because Howard is a chemistry disaster when it comes to the locker room. He’ll demand touches when they haven’t been earned yet, and he’ll complain about his role constantly.
Atlanta has completely mismanaged their offseason; it wouldn’t even be much of a surprise if they missed the playoffs next year, although they might sneak in again due to the weakness of the Eastern Conference. Howard will provide some defensive toughness for the Hawks, but will it be worth all of the headaches he causes to the organization combined with his lack of skills on the offensive end? No. He might amaze everyone and actually learn how to shoot free throws over the summer, but the more likely scenario is that he won’t be with Atlanta for the duration of this contract.