Dwight Howard told Gus Johnson he almost went to the Bucks
Dwight Howard was nearly dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA trade deadline.
During Monday night’s game between the Bucks and Houston Rockets, broadcaster Gus Johnson revealed that Howard told him during warmups that the big man essentially blocked a trade to Milwaukee over his contract situation.
“I talked to Dwight Howard before the game and I said, ‘You know what, man, I feel you’re under-appreciated,'” Johnson explained. “And he said, ‘Yeah, probably. If I wanted to come to Milwaukee during the trade deadline, I would have come. They wanted me to sign an extension.’
“I said, ‘Well, they couldn’t sign you to half a season…’ He said, ‘You never know, I like Milwaukee.'”
What Howard likely meant is that the Bucks wanted him to opt into the final year of his contract. The 30-year-old has a player option for the 2016-2017 season that is worth $23.3 million, which will be a bargain when the salary cap increases dramatically this summer.
Of course, Howard wants to get his hands on some of that new money. His next deal will almost certainly be his final max contract, and it could be worth somewhere in the range of $30 million annually. That’s why Howard was so difficult to trade, as many teams didn’t want to invest that kind of money but also didn’t want Howard as a short-term rental.
Johnson’s revelation is in line with a report we heard shortly after the deadline. The Rockets have denied trying to deal Howard, but they would have been silly not to. His age and contract situation simply didn’t allow it.