Warriors should steer clear of Dwight Howard

Just say no to Dwight Howard.

The D12 soap opera is playing on a 24/7 loop, once again, and NBA teams could use an after-school special to educate them about the dangers of being seduced into adding the game's highest-profile big man to their rosters.

The plot could go something like this: A young basketball team enjoys unexpected success with everyone getting along and playing for each other until a tall, shifty character emerges with the promise of bringing infinite glory.

The coach faces a dilemma: In his heart, he thinks he can win with what he has, yet he's tempted by the idea that he can change a man's character, make it work and go all the way. He succumbs and the team falls apart.

This after-school special gets a happy ending, though. The superstar center is traded midseason and the team goes on a deep playoff run, falling short of a title but satisfied that it had rediscovered its true identity.

Unfortunately, real life never plays out so perfectly, which is why the Warriors should be wary about playing a hand in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

The temptation is understandable. Superstars hit the market every year, make the rounds to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Dallas and Chicago and laugh when the Bay Area is presented as an option. But after last season's turnaround, the Warriors are suddenly on the radar. They're a hip, on-the-rise team and with a new waterfront arena in the pipeline, an attractive destination for free agents testing the waters.

It's natural to want to hook the first big fish that swims in your pond.

What's more, Howard is the game's most dominant big man and putting him on the floor with the NBA's best 3-point shooter would be a Rubix's Cube puzzle for coaches across the league. But Howard carries a trunk full of baggage and adding him into the mix could throw the band out of rhythm.

In the last two years, Howard has destroyed a legitimate contender in Orlando, single-handedly fired coach Stan Van Gundy and last season he couldn't even make it out of the first round of the playoffs playing alongside a pair of future Hall of Famers in L.A.

What makes us think that the drama will unfold any differently at Oracle Arena? Mark Jackson.

Don't get me wrong, I buy into what Jackson sells — but does he have any experience managing a drama queen like Howard?

Right now, his locker room is filled with coachable players. Stephen Curry is a player's son, Klay Thompson is a player's son, Jarrett Jack, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Carl Landry and Draymond Green are all get-after-it kind of guys. Howard is an attention whore who needs constant gratification. Can he gel with the Warriors' team-first vibe?

The front office should also think long and hard about handing Barnes or Thompson over to the Lakers. They Warriors are just scratching the surface of their talent and could haunt them for years.

Fortunately, it seems unlikely that Howard will choose the Warriors when he reaches his decision, supposedly on Friday, and you can consider it a blessing. As the team rises, it will continue to attract attention from free agents. The Warriors don't need to buy the first car they see on the lot.

Paul Gackle is a contributor to The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at pgackle@sfexaminer.com and followed on Twitter @GackleReport.

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