While all the focus in NBA free agency has centered around Kevin Durant turning the Warriors into a new 'super team' and Dwyane Wade potentially leaving Miami, it's easy to forget that another player, who was once considered their peer, switched jerseys this off-season as well.
That would be Dwight Howard, who, long before he became a highly-paid role player in Houston, was once considered to be one of the undisputed best players in the sport. Honestly, it wasn't all that long ago that Howard led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals, and as he returns to his hometown of Atlanta he hopes to find similar success.
Heck, he hopes to take that success one step further and win a title. Here's what he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the matter on Tuesday:
"I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home," Howard said. "I know it's not going to be easy. I've worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I'm very motivated. I'm really (ticked) off about last season. I'm looking forward to coming back with a different mentality."
So why was he ticked off?
"Losing," he said. "A lot of people see me with smiles and all that stuff and think I don't care but I hate losing. I hate seeing other people stand up on the podium and hold up that trophy and I worked so hard for it. That's the main thing."
Now obviously, while a lot of the focus here will be on Dwight saying 'I want to bring a title to Atlanta' it feels important to peel back the layers on the rest of his comments. Do so, and we see a guy, that maybe, after all these years in the league, is starting to mature just a tiny bit.
For starters Dwight admits it won't be easy to win in Atlanta, which is obvious, but something that he might not have said (or realized) just a few years ago. Furthermore, it really does feel like Dwight is committed to winning. Dwight probably could have made a bit more money somewhere else, but instead decided to come to a perennial playoff contender in Atlanta.
Now, is Howard the missing piece on a good, but not great team? It feels like a stretch.
But is he finally starting to show some maturity as he approaches his 31st birthday? The answer seems like a yes.