BOSTON (CBS) — It feels as though speculation about the Celtics potentially acquiring Dwight Howard has taken place off and on for the better part of a decade. And in June 2018, it’s happening once more.
The 32-year-old big man was traded to Brooklyn this week but negotiated a buyout with the Nets, which will make him a free agent on July 1. Naturally, given the Celtics’ spot as a true contender in the Eastern Conference, it’s already being speculated that the C’s may be interested in adding a player of Howard’s caliber for a minimum contract.
“I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win,” Howard told ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “That’s my only goal. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.”
Howard also told ESPN that he feels that he’s coming off a season during which he played some of the best basketball of his career.
“This year was an opportunity for me to show what type of player I am and where I can go,” he said. “This season I made the most jumps shots that I’ve made my whole career. I’ve improved my pick-and-pops. My [isolation] numbers are very high. I’m in a position where I can still dominate on the post, but I can do more things now because I understand the game on a different level. Furthermore, I still want to continue developing and growing as a player.”
Howard averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game for Charlotte last season. He was playing for his third team in as many years, and his fifth team in a seven-year span.
Clearly, sticking around with any team has proven difficult for Howard after he spent the first eight years in Orlando. A new team will be added to Howard’s career resume soon, and he’s hoping it’s with a championship-contending team.
“I felt like this year was a resurgence for me and the biggest reason is because I’m healthy,” he told ESPN. “I didn’t have any problems this whole year. My whole goal is to come back next season, improve and try to win a championship for my team.”
Yahoo’s Chris Mannix noted that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has liked Howard in the past.
Howard has been named to eight All-Star teams, most recently in 2014. He’s a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, winning the award in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He played in 81 games last season, his highest total since the 2009-10 season.
The Celtics got a great season out of Aron Baynes last year, but he is set to hit free agency on July 1.