Dwight Howard Signs with Atlanta Following Three Tough Years in Houston

sprots 1Dwight Howard agreed to a 3-year, $70.5 million contract with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks on Friday, said Perry Rogers Howard’s agent.

Rogers said the deal did not have an option, but was completely guaranteed.

Howard met only with Atlanta on Friday, the first official day of free agency in the NBA. The native of Atlanta decided he did not have to meet in person with any other teams before signing his new deal with the Hawks.

The Boston Celtics had also showed a great deal of interest in Howard. One source said he was scheduled to talk on Friday with other teams on the telephone.

What is no known is if Howard will be playing with Atlanta’s Al Horford or if he signed to replaced him.

Together with the agreement Atlanta made signing Kent Bazemore Friday, the Hawks are close to exhausting their available space under the salary cap, while the nine-year veteran and All-Star Horford has not yet decided on a team.

However, Atlanta was talking on Friday over possible trades that would allow them to gain more salary cap space if Horford decided he wanted to re-sign with them.

Horford is one of many coveted free agents available this offseason with a number of teams interested in his skills.

On Friday, Horford spoke to the Celtics, Wizards and Rockets. He is expected to make his decision during the weekend, said sources.

Howard returns to the east coast following 1 season with the Los Angeles Lakers and 3 with the Houston Rockets. He only scored 13.7 points per game this past season.

He declined his player option in his Houston contract that would have given him $23.2 million for the season.

If Horford decides to leave the Hawks, Atlanta would need Howard to perform at a higher level than he did with Houston.

Howard is not all about offense. The talented rebounder and defender has at times been dominating on both the boards and blocking shots, although not at the level he enjoyed when he won three consecutive NBA defensive player of the year awards between 2009 and 2011.

Howard has averaged a minimum of 10 points as well as 10 rebounds in each of the 12 seasons he has played in the NBA.

He averaged fewer points during the season last year than did Horford, but was a far better rebounder than Horford.

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