Josh HowardAfter the San Antonio Spurs waived both Sam Young and Corey Maggette, who were auditioning for a backup small forward spot to Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs finally got their coveted swingman, albeit a few years, and injuries, later.
The Spurs signed the 6-7 small forward today in a very low-risk move that should allow the Spurs to get a look at Howard to see if he can fit that role, although not right away.
The Spurs and Howard have been tied together in several reports the past few offseasons, and he was nearly signed prior to the 2011-12 season before he chose to sign with the Utah Jazz.
One report in March of 2012 also mentioned a possible trade of Danny Green to the Jazz for Howard, and Tim Duncan reportedly wanted the Spurs to draft his fellow Demon Deacon. The Spurs ended up drafting Leandro Barbosa one pick before Howard was taken, and shipped him off to Phoenix.
In his time with the Dallas Mavericks, Howard gave the Spurs fits, and he was one of the NBA's best perimeter defenders. Now after several injuries and surgeries, Howard will provide the Spurs with a bit of an unknown quality. After tearing his ACL last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Howard could have a long road to recovery.
Just as the Spurs and others have used their D-League affiliates to send players on rehab stints, as the Spurs did with James Anderson, this could be the ideal situation for Howard to get back into shape and work his way back up to NBA competition.
For now though, the Spurs will likely start opening night with a rotation that involves Marco Belinelli and Manu Ginobili playing some backup small forward. Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw could also potentially spend some time at the three.