NBA frenzy season is upon us. Trades are going down right and left. One barely heralded piece of the puzzle? Dwight Howard got traded to Charlotte.
Remember when Dwight Howard was good? Or, rather, remember when he was playing in a league where he could actually contribute to a good team?
Let’s rewind a bit. In the summer of 2013, Dwight Howard hit the free agency market. He only took meetings with five teams: The Lakers, Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, and Warriors. He was the hottest free agent on the market. He was as hot as fire, but if fire could somehow help a team chase a ring. Chris Paul had already re-upped with the Clippers (who had just brought on Doc Rivers). But, as the Lakers continued to try and woo Howard, they also had a contingency plan in place for a sign-and-trade should he decide that he wanted to join the upstart Golden State Warriors.
The trade? Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes for Howard. Ugh.
From Silver Screen and Roll, on July 5th, 2013:
The Los Angeles Lakers have begun reconsidering their stance on working out a sign-and-trade offer for free agent Dwight Howard. If the Golden State Warriors want to acquire the superstar big man only a package that includes both Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes would "appease" the Lakers, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
Remember: Joe Lacob wanted an All-Star big man. He desperately wanted Dwight Howard.
“I don’t like to focus on those who aren’t here,” Lacob told SN as part of an exclusive conversation this week. “Good luck in Houston, Mr. Howard. And I am sure he will help that team, they will be better. But we would not have gone after him if we didn’t think we had a chance or that it made sense. … We were a lot closer than people realize to perhaps that actually happening, (Howard) coming here. I think that is a testament to what is happening here. He was affected by the presentation that he saw by our ownership and our management.”
Instead of Howard, the Warriors wound up with former All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala. And with training camp having gotten underway, the team has gotten a look at a fully healthy and active Andrew Bogut, the center they acquired in March of 2011, who struggled last year after having ankle surgery and played only 32 games.
HAHAHAHAHAHA oh man, wait let me catch me breath. “Instead of Howard, the Warriors wound up with former All-Star swingman Andre Iguodala.”
BULLET DODGED! FAILURE BARELY AVOIDED!
This seems like a great time to mention how happy I am that the Warriors didn't trade Klay Thompson for Dwight Howard back in 2013...— Nate P (@NateP_SBN) June 21, 2017
Instead of signing a player who has been obviously hated in every single locker room he’s ever entered, the Warriors ended up with a key cog in Iguodala who would go on to become Finals MVP in 2015. In addition, they had had the good luck (foresight, whatever you want to call it) to retain Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
But, bigger than all that, by keeping both Thompson and Barnes, and by playing Iguodala alongside them, the Warriors stumbled into a world-changing, NBA-history-changing style of play which has now, in large part, basically made Dwight Howard a non-factor in today’s NBA. Sure, he’s a little older. Yes, he never learned how to shoot free throws. Yes, big men don’t age well. But, how telling was this quote:
Howard said on ESPN’s The Jump earlier in June that he was working on his three-point shot to adapt to the small ball wave.
“I’ve been working on my threes,” Howard said, “really trying to add some range to my game, which is gonna be weird for people to see, I guess, because they’re used to seeing me in the paint battling. But in order for me to play longer, I have to expand my game.”
It was an early sign of just how much Howard’s stock has dropped in the past couple of seasons. Once the most dominant center in the game, he was now looking to add the three-point shot into his arsenal. [...]
The trade shows just how much the Hawks were willing to get rid of Howard, no matter what the deal was going to be.
It’s the first move under new GM Travis Schlenk, who came over from the Warriors after working under Bob Myers.
Schlenk took one look at Howard and was like, “Naaaaaaaah, I’m good.”
It’s a testament to how much the Warriors have changed the game under the leadership and offensive system of Steve Kerr that Dwight Howard’s game is basically unusable in today’s NBA. Just a few short seasons ago, he was the preeminent center in the game. Now? He’s just another trade headline lost in the whirlwind of a crazed NBA off-season.
Seriously, dude just got traded for a Plumlee. I don’t even know which Plumlee, and honestly it doesn’t even matter. Howard’s time in this league is over. He’ll never get a ring, unless he signs for the veteran’s minimum on some contender in three years or something. He’ll never leave his stamp on the NBA.
Well, actually, I’ll personally never forget this little gem. This might live on forever.
Either way, let’s all take a small moment to praise the Basketball Gods (or whomever) that they prevented a Dwight Howard appearance on the Warriors. Instead, we inadvertently got to witness the slow building of the “Greatest Team of All-Time,” as the Warriors kept their homegrown talent (Klay, Harrison Barnes — until they dumped him for Durant — Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green), attracted free agents who immediately bought into the system and turned into irreplaceable cogs (Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston), and snagged the king of them all (Kevin Durant).
Instead of having to watch way too much iso, throw it down to the block, sad basketball (I’m assuming Kerr never even considers Golden State if Howard is here, so in this scenario, Mark Jackson is still running the team), the Warriors changed the NBA and made that type of approach obsolete.
Whew! Crisis averted!