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The Atlanta Hawks today re-signed All-Star forward Dwight Howard to a two-year contract extension. The team also named him their captain, announcing this week that they would honour Howard by wearing ‘A’ on their jerseys for the entire game on Saturday. (Atlanta Hawks)

Howard’s new contract will pay him an estimated $20-million per annum, with $12-million coming from an Atlanta-based sports marketing company, and $8-million as a part of his basic salary. (NBA.com)

The 29-year-old superstar is one of the best-paid athletes in the entire world. In September 2015, a day before the start of the season, Howard signed a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers that will pay him an estimated $25-million per year. (ESPN.com)

The 2015-16 NBA campaign will mark Dwight Howard’s 13th season in the league. Since he debuted with the Orlando Magic in 2002, the 7-foot-tall centre has played for 12 different teams, appearing in 661 regular season games and averaging 15.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.9 block in 35.9 minutes per game. (NBA.com)

An eight-time All-Star, Howard has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team on eight occasions, including the last seven seasons, and has won two Olympic gold medals with the USA basketball team. (NBA.com)

The Many Roles Of Dwight Howard

As an elite seven-footer, Howard is quite naturally a dominant centre, but he has also become accustomed to playing numerous other roles, both offensively and defensively, since his playing time declined in Orlando. (Matt Winicki, Basketball Prospectus)

In the past, Howard has primarily been deployed as a big man, bullying his way to the basket and using his extraordinary size to block shots. However, in the modern NBA, big men no longer exclusively play that role. (James Herbert, NBA.com)

Instead, teams are utilising the versatility of Howard’s incredible talent, playing him at the four, where he can set a pick for a streaking guard, and even at the three, where he can stretch the floor with his accurate shooting. (Herbert)

In 2015, for example, Howard’s numbers at the four and five were the best they had been in five years, and it is quite possible that he did not even play those positions regularly. (Herbert)

The versatile Howard is now viewed as one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the league, ranking sixth and second respectively in those categories among all players. He has also started to play a more significant amount of minutes this season at the point-guard position. (Herbert)

On this note, it is important to mention that Howard is one of the best passing big men in the NBA, regularly setting up teammates for easy buckets. (Herbert)

Averaging two points and two rebounds per game, and playing 32.3 minutes per game, Howard has been one of the best reserve point guards in the NBA this season. (Herbert)

Despite his team-high 5.4 assists per game, at least three other players could arguably fit the description of ‘elite reserve point guard.’ However, few players in the NBA boast the combination of passing, scoring and blocking that Dwight Howard offers. (Herbert)

With Atlanta interested in retaining him and the Lakers looking to upgrade their backcourt, along with Denver also showing strong interest, it is clear that teams see something in Dwight Howard that they like. (Ian Rapoport, NFL.com)

Dwight Howard is undoubtedly one of the best power forwards in the game today, and with his combination of size and skill, it is only a matter of time before teams begin to notice him. (Mike Wells, Sports Illustrated)

It is interesting to note here that Sports Illustrated’s Mike Wells recently expressed his belief that Howard is still underpaid, and that his next contract will see his salary rise to the $25-million-per-year level. (Wells)

How Does Howard Compare To Other Athletes?

In the world of sports, comparing athletes’ and celebrities’ salaries is quite popular. However, there is one key difference between the two. While many can make a lucrative living playing professional sports, very few can boast the level of success and fame that Dwight Howard has achieved. (Winicki)

It is quite likely that you have never even heard of many of the athletes that are being paid more than Dwight Howard. This is despite the fact that they have all likely played a key role in making the league what it is today. (Winicki)

A quick comparison of their most recent salaries will make this plain. LeBron James, the four-time NBA MVP and current king of basketball, will be earning an estimated $25-million this year. However, in 2016, King James is expected to earn the largest paycheck in NBA history, $30-million in cash plus another $3.5-million in endorsements. (Winicki)

Another great player due for an increased salary in 2016 is Stephen Curry, the two-time NBA MVP and star of the Golden State Warriors. The 2015-2016 NBA season will mark Curry’s 12th year in the league, during which he has become one of the best-paid athletes in the world. (Winicki)

While both players have dominated the court for their respective teams this season, averaging over 30 points per game, their true worth to their franchises is much more than just their offensive production. (Winicki)

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Dwight Howard made the news in 2015, and it’s not difficult to see why. With the power forwards’ salaries set to rise in 2016, this year’s NBA free agency class is sure to be a popular topic of conversation. (Winicki)

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