Dwight Howard does not have too many fond memories of last year. From the abundance of injuries, to the lack of success that was expected to follow him to the Lakers; things just never came to fruition in Los Angeles for the star center. Over the summer the all star center was the biggest free agent available with many suitors in his back pocket, just waiting on him to make a decision on his destination. Howard finally signed with the James Harden led Houston Rockets, hoping all the young and excelling talent in Houston would help the center reestablish his dominance as one of the best in the NBA. Lakers were one of the suitors for the star big man, andnot too many players shy away from a max contract offered by one of the most prolific destinations in the sport; which may make their reunion later tonight just that much more special.
Dwight Howard has been known to somewhat boggle around his decisions in his NBA career. When his first free agency opportunity hit in Orlando, he jumped around the idea of re signing with Orlando before finally doing so. Then as his recent open market opened to all teams, Dwight sort of mislead the Lakers in his direction. Telling some of his fellow teammates that there was a decent chance of him returning to L.A. Then he publicly stated there was a 50/50 chance, before finally making his decision to leave Hollywood and heads toward Houston. The decision may have come at the cost of many issues Howard may have saw before leaving town. Kobe Bryant tore his achilles tendon during the year, Steve Nash missed 30 games, and his front court mate, Pau Gasol, only played half the season. Dwight’s supporting cast were getting old and could not stay healthy. The center is playing in his tenth season in the NBA, and has yet to win the championship ring that has eluded Howard’s career to date. He maybe left on a sour note in Hollywood, but has certainly found a home with the Rockets.
Houston may have been the best choice available for the center. The Rockets are sitting pretty at third place in the western conference and only two games behind the Spurs for second. The all star has reestablished his former dominant self, and has a supporting cast to help carry the team through the playoffs. James Harden is one of the best young shooting guards in the game; along with the likes Chandler Parsons, Omar Asik, and Jeremy Lin; forming a very credible supporting cast for Howard. The decision for Dwight to make the move to Houston so far has worked out for both parties, just in time for him to have a showcase night in his reunion with the Lakers.
This game may not mean much for the Lakers, as they are looking to unload players before the trade deadline, and to free up some cap space for next season. Its unfortunate to see one of the most competitive franchises in the NBA not competing for the playoffs, but its very difficult to accomplish that feet when your key players have not been on the court all season. For Howard and the Rockets they look at this game as a must win to keep pace with the top two seeds in the conference, and for the center to showcase that he is better off away from the spotlight in L.A. The reunion may be short lived for just a game but look for Houston to dominate its lesser foe and establish itself as one of the top teams in the league. All Star Weekend is over for Howard, now its time to get back to business, first stop is a trip back to Hollywood.
by Justin Huffman