In signing a free agent deal with the Wizards, center Dwight Howard has joined his fifth NBA organization in a span of four seasons. His career has reached a remarkable level of instability — including being waived immediately by the Brooklyn Nets after the Hornets traded him this summer — but Howard plans for all of it to end now.
He's in Washington and hopes to be here for a long, long time. Howard, 32, said during his introductory press conference on Monday that he wants to finish his career in Washington.
"For the rest of my career here, and I plan to be here until I retire, it's about this team. It's about us winning," he said.
Come again? Howard has not only become an NBA vagabond, he is signed to a two-year deal with the second a player option. The contract is worth $11 million total, about half of what he's used to earning on a yearly basis.
Right now, on the basis of his contract, Howard is set up for a short-term stay in D.C. If things go really right, then sure it's plausible he sticks around with the Wizards for the remainder of his career. That, however, depends on how much longer he wants to play.
Don't worry, Howard talked about that, too. Howard, in fact, hopes to play into his 40s.
"For me, I plan on playing this game for another good eight years," he said.
Eight years is a long time. Howard is still productive and could very well find the longevity to reach his goals, but few NBA players have kept balling into their 40s.
Only 24 players have appeared in NBA games at 40 years old or older. There are three active 40-year-olds in the NBA: Manu Ginobli, Jason Terry and Vince Carter.
Only six centers have played at 40 or older. Howard would join some great company including Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and Dikembe Mutombo.
Playing for the Wizards in his 40s would also put Howard in an exclusive category. Only one guy has ever done that, a man by the name of Michael Jordan.
Now, Howard has said very similar things in his previous stops, how he wanted to play the rest of his career in Atlanta, Charlotte, etc. It doesn't mean much until proven, as things can change very quickly in the NBA. But for now, there's no question the guy is committed for the long haul, at least as of Day 1.
Tyler Byrum contributed to this report
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