Josh Howard may have struggled with a left knee injury the past two seasons in Washington, but he has attracted considerable attention with the free agent signing period set to begin on Friday.
The Wizards and “five to six” playoff contenders have expressed interest in Howard, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Another person close to Howard confirmed that Boston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, San Antonio, Denver, New Orleans and New Jersey have all made obligatory calls, with the Wizards, Bulls and Spurs engaging in more frequent conversations.
The Celtics, Bulls and Heat tried to sign Howard last summer before he inked an incentive-laden deal with the Wizards. Howard is interested in returning to the Wizards after connecting with several of his teammates last season. Andray Blatche and Nick Young both participated in his charity basketball game in Dallas last month, while Trevor Booker coached and John Wall flew in to watch.
Last month, Howard admitted that watching his former team, the Dallas Mavericks, win the NBA Finals in June has made him consider joining a team that closer to contending for a title. “I’ve thought about my legacy and what I want people to remember me as,” he said.
Howard, 31, averaged career lows of 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 18 games last season as he dealt with tendinitis in his left knee. He had platelet rich plasma treatment in March and appears to be healthy. When asked about Howard this week, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said, “We have not been able to have contact with our players so we don’t’ really know, from the standpoint he played in a couple of charity games – he seems to be healthy, and he seems to be ready to go.”
His game is more about savvy and skill than highlight reels but Howard caught an alley-oop pass from Kevin Durant in LaMarcus Aldridge’s charity game in Portland a few weeks ago. He has been consistently working out in Dallas with trainer Tim Martin and in a recent session that included Utah Jazz guard Devin Harris, Howard displayed his agility, quickness and leaping ability.
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