A year ago, Dwight Howard was the most sought after free agent on the market. Now settled into Houston with James Harden, the Rockets could be the potential landing spot for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. But instead of rolling out the recruitment party, Howard will take a step back and give the two superstars their space and let the decision come to them.
Howard doesn’t plan on recruiting James, Anthony, or any other soon-to-be free agent personally, instead choosing to respect their personal process while they decide their respective next steps. In those days before he chose Houston, he was so overwhelmed by the endless opinions and chaos around him that he boarded a plane for Aspen, Colorado just to clear his mind.
While some are going to scrutinize Howard for his decision not to recruit to players that would drastically improve the Rockets upon signing, he knows from experience that there is little he could do to change their minds. Once free agency begins, these two will already have their minds made up on what they want to do and where they want to go, barring a drastic change in circumstances involving potential suitors.
Each player would be a great fit for Houston, LeBron much more than Anthony. The Rockets would have to dump the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin unto someone in order for the trio of James Harden-Dwight Howard-LeBron/Carmelo to happen, assuming neither is in favor of a huge pay cut.
If one was forced to choose who has the biggest chance to be a Rocket come October, Carmelo Anthony would be the choice. The Heat have the front office to rebuild on the fly, but the Knicks are one year away from doing so, and it’s unclear if Anthony wants to waste a year of his career waiting for help to arrive.
If Daryl Morey wants Howard to make an appearance when meeting with either James or Anthony, Howard will likely show–a key person not showing up is what deterred Deron Williams from not signing with the Dallas Mavericks. But his method of letting the two stars breathe is a good one.
“A great man once told me that this is my plane, I fly it where I want to fly it, I’ll land it where I want to land it,” Howard said. “I built it, and it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. If I want people on that plane, I’ll put them on there. If not, this is my plane.
“For ‘Melo and all of these other free agents, this is their plane. This is their time to fly wherever they want to fly. They can’t let anybody or anything get in the way of doing what’s best for them.”