Howard agreed to a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Hawks on Friday, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports. Howard represents one of the biggest front court pieces of the free agency puzzle, so his signing with the Hawks is an interesting one given that they were still in the conversation for Al Horford. Howard's signing with the Hawks makes it unlikely for Horford to return to Atlanta, suggesting that Howard and Paul Millsap will combine for their starting front court combo in 2016. Howard showed flashes of the dominant player that made eight consecutive All-Star games while with Houston over the last three seasons, but those flashes got fewer and farther between over time. He'll have a strong supporting cast around him in Atlanta that also includes an intelligent coach in Mike Budenholzer that could be able to tap back into Howard's talent.
Howard opted to decline his $23.3 million player option for the 2016-17 season and will become an unrestricted free agent, Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports reports. Howard largely struggled this past season, seeing his lowest offensive numbers since his rookie season with 13.7 points per game. Howard and James Harden appeared to clash both on and off the hardwood, so it seems unlikely he'll return to Houston despite both parties leaving the option open. With that being said, Howard's defensive capabilities remain one of the better options in the league, meaning the 30-year-old center should receive a ton of attention on the open market.
Howard compiled eight points (3-13 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 2-4 FT), 21 rebounds (11 offensive), one assist, one steal, and one block across 45 minutes in the Rockets' series-ending 114-81 loss to the Warriors in Wednesday's Game 5. The rebound total was a series high for Howard, but it came about in as unimpressive of a fashion as possible, as more than half of his boards came on the offensive end, where the Rockets were laying bricks all night en route to a 32.6 percent shooting night as a team. Howard was one of the primary culprits in the Rockets' awful offensive execution, as he clanked 10 of his 13 shots while staying on the floor for nearly the entire game. On the heels of a disappointing season in which he often clashed with star James Harden, Howard appears to be a safe bet to leave the Rockets in the offseason, when he'll become an unrestricted free agent. Though he's on the downside of his career and saw his offense stagnate in 2015-16, Howard is still regarded as an above-average presence on the defensive end, an attribute that should allow the 30-year-old to attract plenty of interested suitors.
Howard recorded a double-double with 19 points (7-9 FG, 5-13 FT) and 15 rebounds to go along with one block in 36 minutes during Sunday's win over the Warriors. Howard registered series-highs in minutes, points and rebounds Sunday, but his big game wasn't enough to help Houston overcome a massive third quarter by Golden State. He is consistently averaging 14.5 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game this series, but it seems that he will have to give even more if Houston is to stave off elimination as Game 5 shifts back to Oakland.
Howard amassed 13 points (6-9 FG, 1-6 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal over 33 minutes in Thursday's 97-96 Game 3 victory over the Warriors. The Rockets' big man was able to avoid serious foul trouble for the first time in the series, a welcome development after he'd fouled out of Game 2 after 35 minutes. Howard managed his third double-double in the series' first three contests, and missed an opportunity for a better point total with a forgettable performance from the charity stripe. Despite some struggles, the 12-year veteran has been solid so far in the postseason, with series averages of 13.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals through the first trio of playoff outings.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||61||365||60.0||1||20.0||241||52.3||973||15.95||30.3|