Dwight Howard is holed up in Aspen waiting to announce where he will sign in free agency. If Howard does know where he's going to spend the foreseeable future of his career, as has been reported, he hasn't given any hints yet as to which team he will choose.
But while the entire basketball universe hangs on Howard's announcement, the Golden State Warriors are off making moves that should make them more appealing to the star center.
Golden State completed two major transactions announced almost simultaneously on Friday afternoon, and there's reason to believe another big move is in the works.The Warriors first sent the hefty contracts of Andris Biedrins ($9 million), Richard Jefferson ($11 million) and Brandon Rush ($4 million) to the Utah Jazz, and threw in multiple draft picks, including the franchise's first-round selection in 2014 to sweeten the deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
The move was immediately followed by a second #WojBomb: The Warriors had reached a four-year, $48 million agreement with small forward Andre Iguodala, widely considered one of the top free agents in this year's class. Iguodala is set to add an ace perimeter defender to Golden State, but the Warriors did not have an obvious opening on the wings. Small forward Harrison Barnes just turned in a stellar rookie season, while Klay Thompson established himself as a promising young shooting guard during the Warriors' push to the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
While the Warriors could move either Barnes or Thompson to a sixth man role or Barnes to power forward, it seems like the organization still has another major move or two in mind. Enter Howard. Golden State was one of five teams to meet with Howard in Lakers should Howard select the Warriors as his free agent destination.ing days of free agency, and the team has the assets to pull off a massive sign-and-trade with the
It is true that they no longer have the cap space to sign Howard outright, but he could sign a max contract with the Lakers and then immediately be traded to the Warriors in exchange for center Andrew Bogut and either Barnes, Thompson or both. It had previously been reported that the Lakers did not want to sign-and-trade Howard and preferred to keep as much cap space as possible open for next season when LeBron James and other superstars could hit the open market. Still, the possibility of adding an affordable young talent like Barnes or Thompson may be too much to pass up.
It's all up to Howard. The Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks and Lakers are all supposedly in the running, but it's not crazy to believe the Warriors boast the strongest supporting cast after the signing of Iguodala. While Houston is hoping to pair Howard with James Harden and another star free agent, likely Atlanta's Josh Smith, Golden State's roster even after the sign-and-trade still might be more appealing.
The Warriors pushed to the second round of the playoffs last year largely without the contributions of the injured David Lee, but the power forward still made the All-Star team. In a hypothetical scenario that sent Bogut and Thompson to Los Angeles, Howard would be surrounded by emerging superstar and shooter supreme Stephen Curry, a promising all-around wing in Barnes, a do-it-all perimeter defensive stopper in Iguodala and a tough rebounder and inside force in Lee.
Should Howard pick the Warriors and should the Lakers agree to the sign-and-trade, Howard would have shooting, defense and rebounding next him in the Golden State starting lineup. In a chase for a championship, that isn't a bad start.