With all indications pointing to the failure of the Dwight Howard-Kobe Bryant experiment in Los Angeles, the soon-to-be free agent big man is reportedly looking closely at signing with a team in Texas.
Former Florida star-turned Houston Rockets mainstay Chandler Parsons flirted with the line between recruiting and violating the NBA’s tampering rules when he admitted to contacting Howard immediately after the NBA Finals were over. Now an even bigger-named player has jumped into the fray for the services of Howard, a seven-time All-Star.
Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki told ESPN.com that he has already reached out to the big man about joining forces in the Big D. However, the 2011 league champion sounds like he’s playing things a little cooler than is Parsons across the Lone Star State.
“I reached out to him and told him we’d love to have him,” Nowitzki said Thursday evening, via SI Wire. “That’s really about it. It’s not like we call each other every day.”
Grinning, Nowitzki added, “I haven’t written him a letter. We’ve just had a little phone contact and that’s about it. He’s just weighing out his options. I’m sure he has a couple of meetings set up for whenever that might be in early July. Hopefully, the Mavs are one of those teams and we’ll go from there.”
If it was all about the money, Howard would stay put in La La Land. Under the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers can offer him a max deal of five years and $118 million. All other teams, no matter how low under the salary cap they may be, can only offer four years, $87.6 million.
That is a substantial different in pure dollars. However, the prospect of a fresh start and teaming up with a power forward of Nowitzki’s caliber could be enticing. Plus Texas, without any personal income taxes, makes up for a significant portion of the lost wages from a smaller contract when compared to California’s high tax rate.
Right now, that potential partnership is one of the things Dallas is counting on to lure the center into town.
Meanwhile Houston, a reported front-runner, provides what many are saying as an even better playing situation.
The earliest Howard can sign with any team is July 10, where initial reports have him prepared to announce his destination for next season on that day.