DALLAS -- It was certainly no secret that it appeared as though Dwight Howard was going to leave the Los Angeles Lakers this summer via free agency because of a myriad of reasons.
Today, Howard made it official as, according to USA Today, Howard has decided to sign a four-yead, $88 million contract with the Houston Rockets. That left the other four teams Howard met with earlier this week -- the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Lakers -- out of the picture and scrambling for a Plan B.
That makes two straight summers that the Mavs struck out on their top free agent hopeful. Last summer the Mavs lost out on point guard Deron Williams, who had narrowed his free agent choices down to between the Mavs and the Brooklyn Nets, then decided to sign with the Nets.
With Howard out of the picture, the Mavs could turn their attention to free agents Andrew Bynum, Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Jarrett Jack, Nikola Pekovic and Mo Williams. Or they could wait until next summer when LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Rudy Gay and Danny Granger are among the luminaries who could become free agents.
Still, the Mavs already have a significant amount of salary cap space to have some type of impact on the free agent scene this summer. The loss of Howard just throws them into the Plan B category.
-- Dwain Price
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