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At the top of the Mavericks’ wish list this year is Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, who plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this summer. Howard, it would seem, has absolutely everything the Mavericks need from a center. Plus, Howard constantly draws a double team, which would allow Dirk Nowitzki to hang out on the perimeter and basically enjoy target practice during the twilight of his career.
Storyline: Dwight Howard Free Agency
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But he disputed the notion that he does not value chemistry or that it was as much of an issue this season as many, including some of his players, have said. “I think it’s hugely important,” Morey said. “I don’t remember articles about how our chemistry was great last year. I don’t remember articles last year that said how great our guys were together. That’s a label people throw on a team when it’s not going well. The reality is we didn’t have enough guys playing together and playing well. Last year, we had a lot of guys playing well and playing together. It’s the same group of guys. They had good chemistry. They just didn’t play well.
Storyline: Houston Rockets Turmoil?
He blamed other NBA teams for putting out negative stories about the Rockets. “It’s smart for other teams to paint us in a very negative light,” Morey said. “It’s a very competitive free-agent situation — all the articles you see out there are all the other teams trying to, smartly, paint our situation as negative. But I think any free agent that looks at us, they’re going to see a history of winning. We have the third-best winning percentage in the league the last 10 years, almost no losing seasons. We win at a very high level. There are very few teams that can put their track record of winning against ours.”
It has led to reports from commentators saying nobody wants to play with Harden. “I think that’s very smart, strategic positioning,” Morey said. “I had to address some of that last year when a certain owner [Mark Cuban] was painting our team in a bad light. This year is no different. I think it’s very smart that other teams are trying to paint our players in a bad light. It’s going to be a very competitive free-agency situation. James Harden, I don’t know who wouldn’t want to play with him — a top-five player in the league, unbelievable passer, unbelievable scorer, a guy you can build around. Everything we hear is everyone wants to play with him.”