Crack NBA beat reporter David Aldridge reports that injured quick forward Josh Howard is still considering playing for the Washington Wizards next season.
Howard played reasonably well for the Wizards, but that lasted only for four games before he blew out his knee in the first quarter of a win over the Chicago Bulls. He shot over 43% from the floor in those four games, slightly higher than his season average. [His shooting percentage declined pretty dramatically last season. His FG% was the worst of his career and his TS% was the worst since his rookie season.]
In 91 minutes in a Wizards uniform, Howard scored 58 points, took 46 shots, grabbed 13 rebounds, committed 3 turnovers and dished 4 dimes. He didn't pass much, but at least he didn't turn it over much either. Knowing he was playing for a contract in the 2010-11 season, Howard threw caution to the wind and basketballs at the hoop.
Does Howard have anything left? His PER has declined from just over 20 in 2006-07 to under 13 last season. His usage rate continues to be well over 20, but his rebounding has declined every season since 2006-07. It's pretty clear he was a player in decline even before the devastating knee injury he suffered last February. A very good team probably wouldn't want Howard playing a lot of minutes -- the Bulls and Celtics almost certainly see him giving them just a few minutes per game behind Luol Deng and Paul Pierce respectively. Howard really doesn't fit the Wizards' needs because he's not a 3-point shooting threat. He's also not much of a swing player anymore -- his speed is fine for the quick forward, but he has a hard time defending guards.
When you consider the alternatives left on the market, though, the Wizards could do worse. Much, much worse. I'd be willing to offer Howard a modest contract for one or two seasons. Anyone who gives him more than two years is welcome to him.
UPDATE: David Aldridge further reports: