Editor's note: This story will be updated throughout the day as Dwight-related news trickles in. Until the dam breaks. UPDATE: And Howard chooses Rockets
The ever-indecisive Dwight Howard is making a decision today. Reportedly. Allegedly. Maybe.
After having long meetings with all of his suitors -- the Lakers, Rockets, Hawks, Mavericks and Warriors -- Howard said he would think things over and have a decision by Friday. And his decision could not just decide his future but the futures of several organizations -- including the Pistons.
How is that?
Well, Howard has always been the big domino that needed to fall and once he does it could set off a big chain of events. And those events could either help or hurt the Pistons in their rebuilding efforts.
The biggest factor will be, of course, teams still having money to spend that had pegged it for Howard. The Warriors would probably be least effected by being turned down. They could keep their team largely in tact and make another run at the playoffs.
The Lakers wouldn't be able to spend any real money in free agency but they would be able to try and negotiate a sign-and-trade with whichever team Howard chooses.
But the Mavericks, Hawks and Rockets have giant Dwight-sized holes in their salary cap that they will need to fill via some other means. And those means would probably include one or both of the Pistons' top offseason targets -- Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala.
The Hawks could re-sign Smith and offer him the most money. The Rockets could provide him the best long-term future as the next big piece next to James Harden and the Mavericks could offer championship pedigree, the most esteemed coach and a chance to play next to Dirk Nowitzki.
There is also the matter of Jose Calderon. Retaining Calderon has been one of Detroit's main priority's this offseason and if you look at the team's depth chart at point guard then you can understand why. Beyond Calderon they have two non-point guards in Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey as well as late second-round draft pick Peyton Siva.
And one report suggests that Calderon's future could hinge on Howard's
I'm told Dwight Howard and Jose Calderon are interested in playing together. Calderon may wait for Howard to make a decision before signing.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 5, 2013
Dwight Howard respects Jose Calderon's game, per a source. He thinks they'd play well together since Calderon is a good facilitator/shooter.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 5, 2013
It's no coincidence that when Dwight Howard to Houston rumors started heating up, there was a subsequent Jeremy Lin for Jose Calderon rumor.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 5, 2013
If Dwight Howard re-signs with the Lakers, I expect Jose Calderon to join L.A. as well so he can play with Howard and his buddy Pau Gasol.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 5, 2013
If you're in the camp that views Calderon as the team's best point guard option then this is a little worrisome. If Calderon goes elsewhere the team might be able to get something in a sign-and-trade and move on to pursuing one of the other point guards on the market -- Jarrett Jack, Jeff Teague or Darren Collison, for example.
And speaking of sign-and-trades there is another wrinkle that Detroit fans must consider. It has been widely reported that the Golden State Warriors, long thought a longshot in the Howard sweepstakes, made quite an impression on the center.
For them to sign Howard, however, they need to clear out some of their expiring contracts to teams with cap space so they don't have to receive anything in return. Andrew Bogut ($14 million), Richard Jefferson ($11M) and Andris Biedrins ($9M) are all available. It's also been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have no desire to work out a sign-and-trade for Howard, though that might be posturing by the organization. There is already some indicationthey are moving off that stance.
But if it is true then the Warriors must look elsewhere. Detroit has $20 million in cap space and could easily take on any two of those players while sending minimal pieces back to the Warriors. There's a catch, though, and his name is Calderon. If the team took back that much extra salary it would inhibit its ability to re-sign Calderon.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports is reporting that the Warriors have already tried lining up cap clearing deals and have contacted the Hawks, Cavaliers and Jazz. The Pistons are mysteriously absent from that list. It might have to do with the team wanting to retain the ability to re-sign Calderon.
Berger also reports that the Warriors are likely to pursue these moves even if they don't land Howard so that they can chase someone such as Iguodala. But the Pistons remain a possibility especially if they don't think Calderon will return.
Bogut and Jefferson fit needs on the team and the Pistons could also convince the Warriors to send a young piece such as Harrison Barnes or future draft picks as well. And I haven't thought completely through the salary cap ramifications but if Howard wanted to play with Calderon perhaps the Warriors can work out a separate sign-and-trade deal involving Jarrett Jack.
Between now and the actual decision I think I'm going to be concocting about a billion possible trades between the Warriors and the Pistons, though.
Just added to ESPN's latest Dwight story: Sources say Warriors and Jazz have opened talks on trade that would send Andrew Bogut to Jazz— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
This is Dwight Howard, so no one close to this thing prepared to say they're SURE, but more & more NBA whispers today have Rockets in lead— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
Dwight has made his decision. Said he will announce his destination via Twitter possibly this weekend— janis carr (@janiscarr) July 5, 2013
Hold on....my tweet about Dwight's announcement was premature. No need to sit on Twitter this weekend.— janis carr (@janiscarr) July 5, 2013
Golden State has Philadelphia, Cleveland and Utah involved in talks on complicated deals for salary dumps, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2013
Regarding Andre Iguodala situation, he wants to play for Warriors & has already had deep talks to go there. Need space or S&T though.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2013
UPDATE VII: If players involved include Bogut then Dwight is probably headed to GS, if not then Howard is probably headed to Houston. Just an epinion.
Golden State has reached agreement with Utah on a trade to unload salary, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2013
Source says the Warriors are sending Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson to the Jazz. Checking on what they're getting back.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2013
Andre Igoudala has reached agreement with Golden State on a four year, $48 million deal with the Warriors, league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2013
Dwight Howard has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets, @USATODAYSports has learned. Story to come. - http://t.co/eNYYg63uJo— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2013
UPDATE XI: Dave Hogg is a legit, smart reporter. Not sure if this is based on his own reporting or just the general sense based on the Twitter reports we're all seeing. I'm starting to get worried, though.
Bad news for the Pistons, because Josh Smith and Jose Calderon both wanted to join Dwight in Houston.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 5, 2013