One of this summer's most coveted free agents could be itching to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat. SI.com reported Monday
that Dwight Howard has added the Heat to his list of potential landing spots when he becomes a free agent after this season.
Previous reports had Howard interested in Dallas, New Jersey and the L.A. Lakers. The L.A. Clippers have also joined the fold, according to SI. The former overall top draft pick is in the potential final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic, and he is looking to join a team that can pair him with another All-Star or two.
Like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony before him, Howard wants a chance at a championship, even if that means teaming up with another superstar and forgoing his alpha status.
But this does not mean he will be taking his talents to South Beach this summer and creating Big Three 2.0. A number of hurdles stand in the way of that.
For one, the Heat will need to drop one or two high-priced players simply to get the salary cap space necessary to add Howard. This means one of the following will need to be traded or released under the one-time amnesty rule: Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem or Mike Miller.
But even if the Heat can make room for Howard this offseason, would Pat Riley risk disrupting team chemistry this summer if the team wins an NBA title in June?
Chris Bosh seems like the likeliest amnesty casualty if the Heat want to pick up Howard (releasing Bosh would clear up $17.5 million of cap space next season, even more in the three years after that). Bosh is every Heat critics' favorite target, but if the Heat can win a title with him, why would they automatically drop him for Howard?
Besides, even if the Heat can make Howard a contract offer, they still might not be able to give him as much money as some of the other clubs he is interested in. This is all to say that it is way too early to start Photoshopping Howard into a Heat uniform.
Published at 7:42 PM EDT on Mar 12, 2012