The Golden State Warriors may be bringing in a familiar face just prior to the start of training camp.
As reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Warriors are bringing in eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard for a meeting next week. Golden State is seeking to sign a veteran big man, with their current tallest player being the 6-foot-10, 225-pound Dario Saric. Outside of Saric, all of the Warriors’ current players are under 6-foot-10 and they don’t feature a single tall, physical center. The 6-foot-9 Kevon Looney currently projects as the team’s starting center.
“Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard will meet with the Golden State Warriors next week, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium,” writes Charania. “The team has been exploring signing a reserve veteran big man, and now the 2020 Lakers championship center will visit with Warriors officials soon.”
The 6-foot-10, 265-pound Howard is arguably the Warriors’ best option on the free agency market. Not only is Howard one of the most accomplished players in the NBA, he’s a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, eight-time All-NBA selection and five-time All-Defensive selection. Perhaps most importantly, he’s proven he can fit in as a clear role player on a championship team, playing the role of backup center for the 2020 Los Angeles Lakers championship squad.
Although Howard didn’t play in the NBA during the 2022-23 season — his most recent season was with the Lakers during the 2021-22 campaign — he has kept in shape by playing overseas in Taiwan last season.
According to Jason Dumas of Bay Area’s Kron 4 News, Howard will work out for the Warriors on Tuesday and Wednesday while meeting with Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Mike Dunleavy.
“Source: Dwight Howard will arrive in the Bay on Monday,” writes Dumas. “He will workout on Tuesday & Wednesday. Also has meetings with Kerr & Dunleavy. Steve is most interested in Dwight’s mindset, acceptance of a role, and desire to be a good vet for the young guys. Meetings will be important.”
While Howard obviously isn’t the player he was when he was an annual All-Star player a decade prior, he has clear value as an experienced backup big man. It also helps that Howard has played in the biggest of games, previously leading the Orlando Magic
The Warriors’ interest in Howard also stems from the fact that they’ll have to get through the defending champion Denver Nuggets — who feature the 7-foot two-time MVP Nikola Jokic — and the Lakers, whom the Warriors lost to in the NBA playoffs last season. Golden State struggled to defend the 6-foot-11 Anthony Davis. Davis averaged 21.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game on 57.8% shooting from the field during the series with the Warriors’ top two big men being the 6-foot-9 Looney and the 6-foot-6 Draymond Green.
Assuming everything goes according to plan during Howard’s meeting with the Warriors, Golden State will feature a big man capable of eating up minutes and fouls while being able to stand toe-to-toe against the Western Conference’s best big men in Jokic and Davis.
The expectation will be that Howard signs for the veteran’s minimum of $2.7 million, similar to his three most recent one-year deals with the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers during his three most recent seasons in the NBA.
Considering Golden State is lacking size and a true center on their small-ball roster, signing Howard — even at 37 years old — is a major move that should pay dividends when the playoffs roll around.