What Does Dwight Howard’s Interest In The Bucks Mean?

Feb 29, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) and Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) reach for a loose ball in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 29, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) and Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) reach for a loose ball in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Dwight Howard’s interest in the Milwaukee Bucks is important to the team’s long-term future.

Dwight Howard will not be one of the top three or four free agents that NBA teams want to sign in the free agency of 2016. Howard is certainly valuable and will have suitors, but he’s no Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, or Mike Conley.

Howard has been that guy before, but now he’s a little bit older. D12 knows what he wants. According to Milwaukee Bucks broadcaster Gus Johnson, what D12 wants is to come to Milwaukee.

Yahoo Sports transcribed what Johnson said live on the Bucks broadcast during their home game against the Houston Rockets on Monday, and it’s a good read. Here’s the big bomb that Gus dropped on fans during the game:

"“I wanted to come to Milwaukee during the trade deadline. I would have come, but they wanted me to sign an extension.”"

That’s Johnson quoting Dwight Howard. Who apparently really wanted to become a Buck back on deadline day. Bucks fans are in a tizzy about this, and for fairly obvious reasons.

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Dwight Howard is still a major NBA name. He’s huge, both metaphorically and literally. Milwaukee is still not quite used to players of Dwight’s stature having any interest in even flying to Milwaukee to play an away game, much less moving there to play with the Bucks.

That’s exciting, and it’s okay to take a moment to drool over thoughts of big time free agents like D12 actually wanting to play for the Milwaukee Bucks.

But it’s necessary to snap back to reality afterward. Dwight Howard is great, but he’s not great for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Trading Greg Monroe for Howard might not be a horrible idea for the Bucks, considering the latter would likely fit better with the Bucks starting five than the former.

Howard is a defensive center, although he’s in the midst of his worst defensive season according to defensive rating. Some of that is on Houston for having awful team defense and chemistry, but it’s tough to overlook Dwight’s injury history and age.

D12 has played just 90 games combined over the last two seasons, and he’s now suddenly on the wrong side of 30. So as good as he still is at this point, why would the Bucks want to add a guy who will be 32 or 33 years old when Milwaukee looks to really contend for a title?

The Bucks allegedly wanted Dwight for this and next season, according to Zach Harper. The Bucks would only trade for Dwight if he ignored his player option and stuck around for next season, and that’s something he didn’t want to do.

Related Story: Dwight To Milwaukee Trade Rumors

This whole story seemed dead after Harper’s report. It made some sense–the Bucks could take a flyer on Dwight for a year and a half while jettisoning Monroe. Tossing in a draft pick to get Dwight Howard seems about the farthest thing from owning the future, but whatever.

Even after Gus Johnson said that Dwight wanted to go to Milwaukee the story was fairly dead. He added an interesting detail that sort of revived it, but that was it. Until Johnson reported that Howard said “you never know” about the possibility of joining the Bucks in free agency.

That could just be smart business. Why would Dwight shut down the Bucks from bidding on his services this summer? If free agency falls the wrong way for D12 it’s supposedly possible he doesn’t get many offers from teams that he likes.

The Young Bucks could be an okay fit for his game, and making beaucoup bucks to play in Milwaukee would be a great fit for his wallet. But Dwight even considering Milwaukee shows that the age of small markets is dead in the NBA.

Concerns of Milwaukee losing their free agency luster should they deal Greg Monroe should die as well. There’s no chance in hell the Bucks were looking to add Howard without sending Monroe in a deal with Houston.

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Howard obviously knows that Milwaukee would be moving on from Moose if the Bucks are going to sign him. It’s not stopping him from being interested in the team. These players know that the NBA is a business first and foremost.

Unless the Bucks deal Monroe to Brooklyn or Philly, he’s going to a real NBA team. He’s going to continue to make millions and millions of dollars, except now he’ll probably get to start games instead of having to come off of the bench.

Players aren’t going to look at the Milwaukee Bucks as some dirty team because they traded a guy who didn’t fit in. They’re going to see them as a smart team, and more importantly a team with three young stars who the team has the ability to keep for the entire duration of any contract they could sign with the Bucks.

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That matters far more than anything else. Knowing that you’ll be playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Khris Middleton for the next four years–at least–is the biggest draw the Bucks have. Everything else is less important.