UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is now reporting Howard’s deal with the Wizards will be a two-year deal with a player option. The original post is below.
If nothing else, this is was the best option out there for both sides. Dwight Howard was the only proven starting-level center left on the market and the Wizards were the only playoff-level team with an opening at center. While Howard isn’t the MVP-level player he used to be, he still counts as an athletic big—something John Wall specifically asked for at the end of the season. He might be 32, but he can still get up with the best of them.
So the good news is, the Wizards got what they wanted, but with Howard they’re getting a lot of other things they might not. Will there be chemistry issues? Yeah, probably. It’s Dwight Howard. He alone has caused so many headaches that four teams in the last three seasons have gladly let him go in exchange for nothing or next to it.
On top of that, you’re adding him to a locker room that just got over one center squabbling with John Wall and has several other hotheads Scott Brooks will have to manage. Between Howard, Markieff Morris, and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Wizards will have three of the 13 players who committed at least 10 technical fouls last season.
The on-court fit leaves something to be desired as well. Say what you want about how Gortat bickered with Wall, he ran the floor, set screens, and didn’t need to take a lot of shots to fit in. Will Howard—who averaged 11 shots per game last season, prefers post-ups to pick-and-rolls, and likes playing in the half-court—make changes so Wall can still be a force in transition? If easy to envision how next season could go even worse than this season.
If you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic, consider the circumstances that brought Dwight Howard and the Wizards to this point. They both need to make serious changes to show they’re still relevant in the league. Together, both have an opportunity next season to prove they still have something left in the tank if they’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices.
If it doesn’t work out ... well, it sure beats watching Ian Mahinmi try to impersonate a starting center.