"All of the attention...with none of the responsibility?!?" (Howard photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images))
Kobe is out, on an expiring contract and turning 35. Nash is aging and cannot take over games anymore. And though Gasol can still ball, in this nice piece on forumblueandgold.com, Darius Soriano shows convincing stats that Pau's points, rebounding and shooting percentage all decline when he's paired with Howard.
Simply put, if he gets a max contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard is The Man, period.
If the Lakers win, which is unlikely, Howard will get the credit, but he'll also have the Herculean responsibility of making it happen. If, however, the Lakers struggle, Howard will get blamed. And hell hath no fury like a Lakers fan watching a losing season. (Except for a Philly fan watching...well, anything.)
On the Rockets, however, there is already a Man by the name of James Harden. He gives his all every night. He loves to share the ball. He is self-effacing. And more than anything, he craves putting all the responsibility on his shoulders.
There is also a center, Omer Asik, who would be more than happy to defer to Howard when it comes to getting the ball down low. And on the other side of the ball, playing next to Asik means a good deal of the defensive pressure is off D12: Asik is good at defending, rebounding and blocking shots.
Finally, there are also young ancillary players on their way up who will take the heat off Howard. Should the Rockets figure out a way to keep Asik and get Howard at the same time, there are even young players at Howard's new power forward position, like Thomas Robinson, who are hungry to learn and would give it their all when the Rockets spell Howard. That means a lot for a guy still recovering from a bad back.
In other words, Howard can still have all the attention he craves, still be the mouthpiece of a team, still flash those pearly whites for the camera…but on the court, he can be what he prefers to be: a supremely talented cog in a finely tuned wheel.
No Tinseltown screenwriter could script a better opportunity for Howard's personality.