Just about every NBA team would like Dwight Howard.
Only the Houston Rockets could get him, and on Wednesday a couple of his other suitors announced their backup plans – while one lost out on another big target.
Paul Millsap is headed to Atlanta. The Golden State Warriors acquired Andre Iguodala. But the Dallas Mavericks missed out on another center when Andrew Bynum agreed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Los Angeles Clippers never had to look beyond their top target, with Chris Paul committing to stay on the first day of free agency. They also added Darren Collison, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick to a team that won the Pacific Division last season, surpassing the Lakers as the best team in Los Angeles.
“We’re loaded at every position,” said Matt Barnes, who re-signed with the Clippers. “Who doesn’t want to play with Chris? He’s arguably the best point guard in the game. It just shows this organization has come a long way. They’re making the right moves.”
Bynum was part of the four-team trade that sent Howard from Orlando to Los Angeles last summer, but never played a game for Philadelphia because of knee problems.
Charlotte got bigger by adding Utah center Al Jefferson.
The Jazz also got involved in the deal that landed Iguodala with the Warriors, who gave him a four-year, $48 million deal last week. Golden State cleared more than $24 million by sending Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Jazz along with four draft picks and cash. Denver received guard Randy Foye from the Jazz.
Chris Andersen signed a $1.7 million, one-year deal to stay with the Miami Heat, who will have to hold off some stronger challengers next season in the Eastern Conference.
The NBA’s other big deal of the offseason, the trade sending Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston to Brooklyn, will be completed Friday. The Nets could pay more than $70 million in taxes in the first season of the NBA’s harsher penalties for teams who exceed the limit.