When Mike D’Antoni showed up in Houston, it became widely understood that Dwight Howard would soon be gone.
However, that might not be the case. It is true that Dwight Howard and Mike D’Antoni did not get along well during their stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, but it could be that enough time has passed for the two to put aside their differences in an effort to win.
Dwight opting into the final year of his contract would mean that the Houston Rockets would have far fewer dollars to throw at free agency, but would ensure that they have a solid defender and pick-and-roll player with Finals experience. It could put the Rockets in better position to win than them taking their chance at landing a prize in free agency.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report is keeping the public updated on Dwight’s upcoming decision, and has most recently reported that D’Antoni and the Rockets organization would welcome him back. It’s no sure thing either way, but it looks a lot more plausible for Howard to return now than it did when D’Antoni was first hired.
“He [coach Mike D’Antoni] would welcome him [Howard] back. We would welcome him back,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio’s
and Noah Coslov on Sunday when asked about the situation.
“One of the best players in the league. We’re going to play a certain way. I hope he wants to play that way,” D’Antoni said of Howard, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Another player that could be slated for a return to Houston (not that Dwight would returning if he opts in, but you know what I mean) is point guard Jeremy Lin. As Space City Scoop’s Coty Davis points out, he has a great relationship with the new head coach and will be an unrestricted free agent later this summer. Lin was let go in the summer of 2014 to make room for the Chris Bosh signing that never happened, but the wounds could be healed if the Rockets can offer him an opportunity to earn lots of cash and play for the coach that helped start Linsanity.
Though Lin played as a back-up in Charlotte, the Hornets’ greatest success came when Lin and Kemba Walker played on the same unit as it offered two guards with the ability to drive or hit from the perimeter. A deadly combination.
If Houston were to target Lin to return to form a new starting backcourt with Harden the combination could prove to be even deadlier. More importantly it would offer an additional play maker on the court. Something the Houston Rockets are in desperate need of.
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Since the initial negative reaction surrounding the D’Antoni hire, most fans have warmed up to the new coach. However, Jake Meister of the Sports Quotient still isn’t quite sold on the decision to bring in a strictly offensive mind to coach an offensively gifted but defensively lacking team.
"It baffles me as to why the Rockets would want D’Antoni at the helm if he isn’t going to fix their major issue. Isn’t that the point of hiring a new head coach? Also, if D’Antoni pushes Howard out of town, (arguably their best defensive player) the Rockets might decrease (on the rankings) even more. DEF"
If Meister is correct, Dwight leaving could spell issues in Houston. Perhaps D’Antoni has realized the potential defensive disaster and acknowledges that having a former DPOY on the roster would help prevent things from blowing up on that end of the court.
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