Skip to content

Why didn’t Dwight Howard and Chris Paul end up playing together?

Nov 1, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

2009 NBA All-Star Game Getty Images

Today’s NBA is nothing like the eras of the league that have long since passed. Picture Michael Jordan recruiting Isiah Thomas to join the Bulls, or Larry Bird trying to coerce Magic Johnson into leaving L.A. for the bright lights cold weather and rickety conditions of the ancient Boston Garden. Exactly — it just wasn’t happening.

But nowadays, things have changed significantly. Due to a combination of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, along with the fact that star players tend to have relationships with each other that date back to their pre-teen years, there’s no stigma associated with conspiring to come together to assemble a super-team that will compete at the highest level.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all assembled in Miami to form the defending champion Heat, and other players around the league wanted to duplicate that successful process. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul were among the superstars trying to align themselves together, but as we’ve seen with Paul ending up with the Clippers and Howard ending up with the Lakers, they were unable to make it happen.

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports has the story of the reasons why, and on the surface, it seems like neither wanted to be the one to sacrifice more than the other.

Starting in 2009, Howard and Paul began chatting regularly, trying to figure out a way to play together. Howard tried to convince Paul to join him with the Orlando Magic. Paul responded, one source said, with a question: “What will you be giving up?” While Orlando was relatively close to Paul’s hometown of Winston Salem, N.C., and had advanced to the 2009 NBA Finals, Paul preferred Howard join him on the New Orleans Hornets’ roster. When neither Howard nor Paul seemed interested in playing for the other’s team, they considered looking for a common destination.

That common destination was supposed to be Dallas.

Sources close to both players said Howard and Paul settled on the Dallas Mavericks as an ideal destination, knowing owner Mark Cuban had the means to clear salary-cap space for them. The Mavericks explored trades for both players, but didn’t have attractive enough assets to make a deal. And while Howard and Paul could have become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2012 by opting out of their contracts, neither exhibited the patience to make such a plan feasible.

It definitely could have happened; Howard and Paul both had the juice to either force a trade or go to the Mavericks in free agency, and Dallas had the ability to create the cap space to acquire them both.

But ultimately, neither player wanted to play with the other badly enough, or one would have blinked first and acquiesced to the terms of the other. It’s not like they both didn’t get exactly what they wanted — Paul ended up in the large market he desired, playing with a dominant front court finisher in Blake Griffin in Los Angeles. And Howard also ended up in L.A., on a stacked team alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash playing for the Lakers.

With all due respect, those decisions were boring. Seeing the Lakers reload yet again, or a star choose L.A.’s JV team because of the large market opportunities beyond basketball that it may provide just simply isn’t that exciting.

If the two stars had been able to come to an understanding to form a super-team of their own in a place like Dallas, now that would have been something really worth talking about.

  1. lakerluver - Nov 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Oh, it’s still possible! Probably not very likely, but not totally out of the question.

  2. 00maltliquor - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    It woulda happend if it wern’t for Stern and his power drunk veto of Paul to LAL for Gasol, Odom. All we traded for to get Howard was Bynum so there were no parts in that 1st trade that would have affected that outcome.

  3. pukpokito - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    They could still come together in Dallas if they like.No more contractual obligations or any opt in whatever.They are free to make it happen after this season if they like.double dare.Maybe Howard will regain some respect from basketball(none Laker)fans by not taking the easy way out this time.

  4. lakerluver - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    They ain’t going to Dallas!! However, IF the LAKERS can move Pau, and Nash retires………??? Even if they don’t get CP3, by the time Kobe/Pau/Nash contracts come off the books, Kyrie Irvin will be ready to leave the Cavs and join D12 in beautiful, sunny Los Angeles.

    • bougin89 - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      Except for the whole rookie contract and restricted free agency that pretty much guarantees Irving will be in Cleveland for the first 7(ish) years of his career. That probably doesn’t matter though right?

  5. hoodheisman - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    “With all due respect, those decisions were boring.”

    OReally? Based on this profound logic, if a 1-and-done Dallas organization is “more exciting” than joining one of the longest running dynasties in sports in of the NBAs 2 biggest markets, then it would follow that going to a third tier toilet organization like New Orleans would have been the “most exciting”…. Clearly it must be an accident that organizations like the Lakers and Celtics or cities like Miami, LA, and NY tend to attract superstars…

    With all “due respect,” reality disagrees with you. D. Howard, C. Paul, D. Williams, and J. Kidd have all turned down Dallas. For some reason what’s exciting to Brett Pollakoff isn’t exactly exciting to anybody else.

  6. crtzinc - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    After the Lakers and Clippers rivalry this year that will not happen.

  7. crtzinc - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Where is the article about Deron and Dwight wanting to play together or about how BFF’s LeBron and CP3 wanted to play together badly? Come on Man!

  8. paulhargis53 - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    bougin: He’s not dealing in reality. He’s an over the top homeristic know nothing.

    Do you believe this guy(LL) is about 39?

    That’s the sad and pitiful part about all of this.

  9. dal24la - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    “With all due respect, those decisions were boring. Seeing the Lakers reload yet again, or a star choose L.A.’s JV team because of the large market opportunities beyond basketball that it may provide just simply isn’t that exciting.

    If the two stars had been able to come to an understanding to form a super-team of their own in a place like Dallas, now that would have been something really worth talking about.”

    Really? I’m sure you guys and every other basketball website have written endless stories about the Lakers reloading again. Must not be too dull (i.e. the Spurs, who yall rarely talk about)

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3648)
  2. D. Rose (2899)
  3. K. Bryant (2539)
  4. L. James (2473)
  5. K. Irving (2236)
  1. T. Young (2039)
  2. A. Davis (2012)
  3. R. Allen (1844)
  4. S. Marion (1758)
  5. E. Okafor (1691)