Why Dwight Howard Should Spurn Lakers and Head to Dallas Next Year with Buddies

Dwight Howard will have an enormous decision to make once the 2012-13 season is over. He's an unrestricted free agent—meaning he can choose to sign with any team he wants. It's not as simple as re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, he should take his talents to Dallas and bring some friends with him.

One of Howard's greatest assets right now is his age. He'll be 27 years old and right in the middle of his prime. He's not in a position where his window of opportunity is closing. The Lakers as a team are, however, in that position with Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace in the twilight of their careers.

Because of the salaries involved, the Lakers are stymied and wouldn't be able to improve the team beyond what they already have. They have a quality squad, but they are flawed. Premiere defenders and excellent bench players don't come at the minimum salary.

Money is not, will not and should not be a factor in Howard's decision. He could get an extra year by staying in Los Angeles, but that could simply be temporary. He could end up with the same amount starting his next contract, so it's not a sure thing that he'd be giving up the money by leaving Los Angeles. 

The Dallas Mavericks can offer a very attractive package for Howard if he chooses to sign with them. He'll get close to the same amount of money and fame as he'd get in Los Angeles, but there's a major difference. The window of opportunity as a team would be much greater. 

If all player options are picked up, the Mavericks have approximately $41.9 million in salaries in 2013-14 and just $2.2 million in 2014-15. That's a massive amount of cap space and flexibility for an owner like Mark Cuban, who will do whatever it takes to win.

There are a handful of tremendous young players available that the Mavericks could pair with Howard to create a very talented tandem. Chris Paul and Josh Smith ...

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