COMMENTARY | The Golden State Warriors don't need Dwight Howard, period. Given their performance last season, they already have a great core in place without adding the free agent and bringing him in would only bring the Los Angeles Lakers' headache to the Bay Area.
It's true -- the Warriors are one of five teams vying for his services, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, but they would be better off bowing out of the battle now rather than waste their time with this mess in the making.
Here are five reasons why it doesn't make sense for Golden State to enter the Howard sweepstakes.
1. It's always about the money
Adding Howard via free agency would effectively gut the Warriors financially. He would not only cost them a max deal, but key pieces that brought them to a very special postseason run in 2012-13.
Unlike the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks, Golden State is over the projected salary cap. This means that the only way they can acquire Howard is through a sign-and-trade deal. The franchise is familiar with this scenario, as they acquired David Lee the same way in 2010.
Along with going to a team that best suits his skill set and gives him the best chance at winning a championship, Howard also wants to be paid handsomely. If he wants to receive the biggest possible contract this offseason, it'll have to be from the Lakers. A five-year, $117 million-plus deal is a ridiculous price to pay for a Warrior franchise that is already tipping the scales financially.
When thinking about the team's other needs this offseason -- which include determining the fate of key free agents Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry as well as the hole at backup center with Festus Ezeli recovering from major right knee surgery -- the Warriors need cap space to fill out the rest of their roster. While a starting five including Lee, Howard, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would be formidable, the lack of money available to round out the team's bench is concerning and could turn out to be the team's downfall.
2. They don't call it a Dwightmare for nothing
The Warriors have a lot going for them from an organizational standpoint. From a strong, young coach to a young crop of promising stars, the locker room is in great shape and the last thing Golden State needs is a distraction like Howard to ruin the roster.
It's only a matter of time before he does it -- just look at the track record. It happened with the Orlando Magic -- just ask Stan Van Gundy. It transpired for the world to see last season with the Lakers. With a basketball team not used to having a star with so much notoriety, he would eat the organization alive.
3. It's not broken, so don't fix it
The Warriors' surprising success last season was largely attributed to their excellent team chemistry and united locker room atmosphere. Bringing in a player possessing Howard's baggage and high-maintenance needs could ruin the chemistry this team developed last season. Even being attached to the Howard sweepstakes can have negative ramifications, especially for Bogut, the player Howard would replace.
All is not wasted in this foolish endeavor, though. For the Warriors, being linked to the Howard free agent talks in and of itself is a victory for the team's goal to become a more desirable destination for the best free agents.
That being said, boosting the team's long-term appeal is not worth tarnishing something special.
4. He's not worth the time
Just like many professional sports leagues, transactions between teams in the same division in the NBA are rare. Teams do not want to find themselves accidentally helping a division foe. As Pacific Division rivals, the Warriors and Lakers don't do business often.
In fact, the two franchises have only made two trades between one another, most recently nearly 20 years ago. In 1994, the Lakers traded 1995 second-round draft pick Dwayne Whitfield to the Warriors for Anthony Miller. In 1990, the Lakers traded 1991 first-round draft pick Shaun Vandiver to the Warriors for Terry Teagle. These deals cannot hold a candle to the potential blockbuster deal needed to bring Howard to the Bay Area.
If the Warriors come to an agreement with the Lakers for a sign-and-trade deal, the two teams would then face the difficult task of determining an acceptable price for Howard. As rarely as the two sides engage in trade talks, the Lakers' demands for Howard will be high, especially since the Rockets, Mavericks and Hawks are all viewed as more likely destinations for the dominant center.
The time and effort put into this endeavor is throwing away valuable time during this free agency period.
5. 2014 free agency is better
Current Warriors center Andrew Bogut and his one-year, $14.2 million deal will likely need to be a part of the potential sign-and-trade with the Lakers. Bogut alone would not be enough, however, so a young star like Thompson or Harrison Barnes would conceivably need to be a part of this transaction as well. The Warriors may also seek cap relief in the form of expiring contracts Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins.
This price for a sign-and-trade deal would significantly cripple the Warriors' overall depth and team makeup. Instead of strengthening a division foe, the Warriors should wait it out. By waiting to make their major moves next offseason, they will have a choice between even more high-quality free agents and have available money at their disposal with the contracts of Bogut, Jefferson and Biedrins off the books.
Austin Chang is a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports writer covering the Golden State Warriors for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and an intern for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow this contributor on Twitter @_austinchang.
- Sports & Recreation
- Golden State Warriors
- Dwight Howard