Howard averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds last season -- nice numbers considering his opportunities were limited because of the presence of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. He also played in 80 games, which speaks to Howard's durability and willingness to play with minor bumps and bruises.
That said, Howard will be 35 in February, struggled against the Jazz in the playoffs and was traded by Houston to Minnesota for journeyman point guard Mike James and a throw-in. I know the Rockets desperately need better point guard play, but the price tag for Howard seems low to me, perhaps because the Rockets saw a decline in his game.
Off the floor, Howard is due $6.9 million this season and owns a player option for $7.4 million next season. That's over $14 million for a guy who would back-up big-minute starters Carlos Boozer and Memo Okur.
All things considered, I'd pass.
"Why are the Jazz not jumping all over Mickael Pietrus? I hear Golden State is offering him in the $3.5 million range. That's well within the Jazz's budget. I hope they are not planning on going with what they have proven does not work at this position.
- Steven Parker
Pietrus enjoyed a nice season -- 11.1 points per game and 38.8 percent shooting from the three-point line. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, he has desirable size for his position and he's not a salary cap burden.
But here is the drawback in pursuing Pietrus: He is a restricted free agent, meaning Golden State can sit back and keep him by merely matching the best offer he receives. From what I've heard, that's precisely what the Warriors have planned on doing all along -- barring an insane offer from one of the few teams which started the summer with a lot of money to spend on free agents.
I think the Jazz decided a few years ago that trying to sign restricted free agents is mostly a waste of time. They went after Corey Maggette and Jason Terry, who ended up staying with the Clippers and Hawks. All the Jazz did was set the market for those players and tie their own hands when it came to pursuing other free agents.
In my opinion, it will be awhile before the Jazz make another serious run at a restricted free agent.