Dwight Howard might want to come home after all.
File this under the For What It’s Worth heading.
Howard has interest in playing for the Hawks. Yes, he reportedly has a meeting scheduled with the Hawks as an unrestricted free agent.
However, I’ve heard that several people in the Howard camp believe the Hawks would be the center’s first choice as a destination.
Please read this carefully:
* I do not know the level of the Hawks’ interest past an initial meeting.
* I do not know where Howard ranks on the Hawks’ list of priorities.
* I am not saying the Hawks prefer Howard over Al Horford.
* I am not saying that Howard will sign with the Hawks.
Howard was born in Atlanta and played at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy before going directly to the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick in 2004. He has had several opportunities to return home and play for the Hawks. He has declined each time. Most recently, he passed to sign with the Rockets in 2013.
Howard recently opted out of his contract with the Rockets that would have paid him $23.2 million next season. The 30-year-old will also reportedly meet with the Celtics and there are sure to be other suitors.
Howard appeared on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday. He did not confirm any free-agent meetings.
“I don’t know right now where I will be and I haven’t counted any team out,” Howard said. “I’m going to go into free agency open-minded. The best thing to do is to take the emotions out and figure out what is going to best for basketball for the rest of my career. I just want to be in a position where I can be who I am, be free and help a team win. I still have a lot in me to offer. Just because a couple bad seasons doesn’t really justify who I am as a person or a player.”
There are pluses and minuses with Howard. He has skills the Hawks lack – rebounding and rim protection. He is a questionable fit in the Hawks’ pace and space offense.
As I have written several times, the Hawks have the means to re-sign Horford and another max player, although that would mean parting ways with Kent Bazemore.
Again, please, I’m not saying Howard is signing with the Hawks. I’m not saying the Hawks want to sign Howard. What I am saying is according to people close to Howard, they believe Atlanta would be his first choice. I thought it worth mentioning.