By Mark Haynes |Special To The OBSERVER

Dwight Howard Wants In With The Kings

Dwight Howard, the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2021-22 season. The likely future Hall of Famer plays in Taiwan for the Taoyuan Leopards of the T1 League. On social media, Howard often expresses joy over playing overseas, and he has gone viral multiple times during the postseason for jokingly recruiting other NBA stars. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul are among the targets in Howard’s hilarious recruiting videos.

Although Howard has enjoyed his time in Taiwan, he isn’t ruling out a return to the NBA. In an exclusive interview with The OBSERVER, the 37-year-old talked about a team he’s interested in joining.

“I’m not retired from the NBA just yet,” Howard told The OBSERVER. “I would love to help the Sacramento Kings contend for a title. Even though I believe their team is pretty much set.”

The three-time defensive player of the year last appeared in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. The Kings caught Howard’s attention last season, and when asked if he was surprised by their success, he replied, “Nah, not really. I like Mike Brown. I think he’s an amazing coach, and what he accomplished this year was very impressive.”

Though Brown is known as a defensive coach, the Kings put together one of the best NBA offensive seasons ever. The fast-paced, high-scoring squad attracted many eyes, but Howard noticed something else.

“The thing that stood out most this year was the contracts that players signed accepting their roles and actually sticking with it no matter what,” Howard explained.

At the beginning of the season, the Kings’ players signed contracts with Brown agreeing to roles with the team on and off the floor. Those contracts might have been a considerable part of their success. The team’s chemistry was extremely strong, and players didn’t complain or make an issue of being benched or reprimanded.

The franchise has been under Brown’s command only one season and giant strides in the right direction already have been made. Even without signing a future Hall of Famer this offseason, Howard sees a bright future in Sacramento.

“I think the Kings will continue to get better with experience,” Howard said.