Dwight Howard still has eyes for the Big Apple.
Right around the time the New York Knicks were completing their trade for Derrick Rose Wednesday, ESPN New York reported that Howard, who opted into free agency earlier this week, is interested in joining the Knicks.
The Knicks are looking to upgrade their backcourt this offseason. But if they have any interest in a center, one of the top bigs on the market would be open to signing with them. The Knicks are one of several teams Dwight Howard would consider in free agency, league sources say. Howard told friends earlier in the season that he was interested in playing for the Knicks; that interest remains as Howard approaches free agency, per league sources. It's unclear, though, if Phil Jackson and the Knicks would have any interest in Howard. They signed Robin Lopez to a four-year contract last summer. Lopez was a bright spot for the club during last year's 32-win campaign. The club is expected to have at least $30 million in cap space this summer.
This is the kind of move that makes you worry as a Knicks fan. It's one thing to take on Rose's $20 million salary on a one-year deal. Devoting big money to Dwight Howard as a combo follow-up could be a complete disaster. That's giving up likely $60 million combined to not-versatile Carmelo Anthony, injury-ravaged Rose, and over-30, on-the-decline clownish jokester Howard coming off three big injury seasons. That's a recipe for a complete fall-apart that makes you wonder what the Knicks were possibly thinking in putting that team together.
Or, to put it another way, your average Knicks season.
Howard also doesn't fit the triangle offense if Jeff Hornacek plans to incorporate it, as he's not a dominant post player (despite his best wishes to be), and the spacing would be problematic with Anthony. He also doesn't fit Hornacek's higher-pace offense, and could very well annoy the daylights out of Anthony.
That said, this is about Howard having interest in the Knicks ... not the other way around. That's key. The trick will be for the Knicks to stay disciplined and not chase Howard just because they have the money and the need for a center after trading Robin Lopez in the Rose deal.
This report should give Knicks fans night terrors like a six-month-old does to a sleep-deprived parent. Howard could still be valuable, could still help teams. But combined with the Rose gamble, this looks terrifying.