As the NBA trade deadline of 3pm on Thursday approaches, Dwight Howard continues to live in his own world. He has for some time now. The only other player as delusional about his actual value and standing among the league’s elite players is probably Carmelo Anthony.
Both of these guys have been the subject of trade rumors over the past few weeks.
No diss to Melo, but he’s another supposed, max-money superstar who doesn’t seem to be able to lift his team to another level.
In the blink of an eye, the Knicks season went from promising to porous as Melo nursed a bad knee for seven games, resulting in seven Knicks losses. Since that dramatic plunge, the "trade Melo" rumors have heated up. The idea that the Knicks would trade their best player is perplexing.
The prevailing theory, however, is that the Knicks will never get much better unless they move their most intriguing piece and build off of the fruits of that trade. With the firing of Derek Fisher, they have admitted that some major changes need to be made.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Melo publicly dismissed the idea that he wanted a trade or would waive his no-trade clause, but participating in the All-Star game on a janky knee and then trying to convince the fans that he is serious about a second-half playoff run, is suspect.
As much as I respected Melo’s efforts to diversify his game this season, he walks around with the attitude that none of this is his fault. Howard walks around with the attitude that big men who play in the post are still a commodity in the NBA. His career began with some success in Orlando, but has fizzled in two drama-filled stints with LA and Houston.
While Melo’s trade rumors are probably more wishful thinking on both sides, ESPN reported today that Howard’s departure from Houston is eminent. It won’t be an easy task either. Unlike, two years ago when Howard was able to pick his next destination because he was still considered a max-player and game-changer, there aren’t many landing spots for him due to a variety of reasons, including his $22 million salary.
Most quality NBA teams are already over the cap and must give up that amount in contracts to sign Howard. Also, according to an ESPN, no team is willing to guarantee him a $30 million max deal, and apparently that’s what this guy will be looking for as a free agent. He’s just swindling the league at this point. TSL warned everyone that he wasn’t worth the cheddar. Kevin McHale and the boys felt otherwise.
Now McHale is out of a job and it seems the NBA is finally hip to Howard’s game. Howard supposedly has a “list” of teams he would accept a trade too, but according to NBA analyst Chris Broussard, “One GM told me that Dwight’s days of having a list are over,” Broussard said. “You can have your list, but nobody is going to pay much attention to it.”
The Knicks are in a similar predicament. Who is going to pay all of that bread for a declining forward with a degenerative knee condition? Melo made his deal with the devil when he had a chance to go to Chicago and chose to take the scratch and all that comes with playing in New York.
Can’t have it both ways.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Howard will learn this as he has very few options outside of The Charlotte Hornets and has already said “Boston is not on his list.”
Charlotte, who already made one trade deadline move, acquiring Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Courtney Lee for P.J. Harrison and two second-round picks, have talked to the Rockets about Howard, but have yet to find a package that would entice Houston, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Stein quoted a source that said they were "pessimistic" about the chances of a deal, while Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Charlotte is reluctant to part with significant assets in any deal.
Houston has lost all hope in Howard leading them to an NBA championship as they’ve slipped to a disappointing ninth place in the Western Conference. At this point, Rockets GM Daryl Morey is trying to dump Howard’s burdensome contract and acquire some pieces to help make the playoffs.
It's ultimately another swing and a miss for Howard, who’s quickly racking up teams, ailments and basketball enemies late in his career. Sometimes a baller has to look in the mirror and wonder why he can’t get over that championship hump, and why his money is long, but his defining moments are forgettable.
On a positive note, he’ll get one more shot with somebody in his impending free agency, even if he doesn’t get traded.
The saga continues for Howard, a true nomad of the max money era and for Melo, a superstar stuck in limbo.