Despite a declining production for the past few years, Dwight Howard will still be one of the top names in free agency this summer if he exercises the player option in his Houston Rockets contract.
The eight-time All-Star has taken a back seat to James Harden at the Toyota Center, and his statistics certainly reflect that. It's long been speculated that Howard will test the market this summer to seek a long-term deal at a time when NBA franchises will have more money than ever before.
Dallas Mavericks small forward, Chandler Parsons, played a pivotal role in persuading the 30-year-old to join the Rockets back in 2013 and has been very vocal in his desire to see the pair link up again in Dallas.
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The 27-year-old has to figure out his own contract situation at the AT&T Center, but in a perfect world, he hopes he and his long-term buddy can be reunited.
"Yeah, for sure," Parsons said on Tuesday when asked whether he wanted to play with Howard again. "I think he can still dominate the game. I think he can still be a great player in this league. And I think he's going to leave Houston. So why not come here?"
Mark Cuban's Mavericks endured a long and ultimately fruitless pursuit of another All-Star center last summer in DeAndre Jordan. It's unlikely that Dallas would be willing to offer Howard a max-contract to the tune of $30 million-a-year, but one could assume Howard will be looking for something north of the $23.3 million he'd be walking away from in Houston.
When Howard was asked about Parsons' comments, he replied: "Is he a prophet?"
The number one pick in the 2004 draft is currently fighting to ensure that Wednesday night's game five clash between the Rockets and defending NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, isn't his final time in a Houston jersey as they trail the 3-1 in the first-round series.
Howard insists remaining in the playoffs is his sole focus right now and anything else - including Parsons' wishes - come later.
"I don't pay attention to it," Howard said of the speculation. "It's 'he said, she said.' My job is to focus on being great tomorrow and helping this team win, not what anybody else has to say. Chandler is a close friend, but it's not about what he thinks or what he wants right now. It's about this team and what we're trying to accomplish.
"My focus is this basketball game. It doesn't matter what nobody on the outside says. We [he and Parsons] are friends, we are close, but none of that stuff matters right now. It's about this team and what we're trying to accomplish and who cares what anybody else says."
Mavericks stalwart Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't be drawn on the subject either. The 18-year veteran insisted there is a time and a place for that kind of talk.
"We have enough time to re-evaluate the franchise with [president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and owner Mark Cuban] and see what guys are out there later on, so I don't think that's something I'm going to comment on for now," Nowitzki said.
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