FRISCO – If Jason Terry was running the Dallas Mavericks’ front office, apparently the first free agent he would try to lock up this summer is center Dwight Howard.
By Terry’s estimation, Howard is the one glaring piece the Mavs are missing that would help them return to their championship year of 2011. Howard is expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent on July 1.
When asked Thursday morning how Howard would look in a Mavs’ uniform, Terry said: "He would look good. Anybody that has his physical stature along side of Dirk (Nowitzki) is always a huge factor.
"If he comes to Dallas they’ll be talking about Dallas in the likes of winning a championship.’’
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Terry and Howard were Houston Rockets teammates the past two seasons. In fact, Terry was always that crafty veteran who would console Howard during the many times he complained about not getting the ball in the Rockets’ offense.
And while many believe Howard’s skills have severely diminished, Terry begs to differ. He knows the 6-11, 265-pounder has some more good years left in his 30-year old body.
"There are three dominant centers that I’ll say, and that’s DeMarcus Cousins (of the Sacramento Kings), DeAndre Jordan (of the Los Angeles Clippers) and Dwight Howard,’’ Terry said. "Not to mention (Memphis’ Marc Gasol, but he’s a different kind of center because of his back to the basket game and the way he can pass.
"But those other three, they’re athletic, they run the floor, and Dwight fits that perfectly.’’
Terry, who played for the Mavs from 2004-’12 and was a key figure on their championship squad, is aware that Howard averaged 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while playing 71 games this season for the Rockets. Howard’s ability to clog the middle and be a presence down low is precisely what the Mavs are lacking.
"He still can be a dominant force, primarily on the defense end,’’ Terry said. "He’s such a presence back there controlling the paint.
"And then offensively, when he sets screens and rolls hard to the basket and runs the floor, he’s one of the best we have.’’
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