Since Chris Paul will most likely stay a Clipper, the possible departure of All-Star center Dwight Howard is the most talked about free agency in L.A.

If Howard stays in L.A. he could receive $118 million over five-years. But if he opts to leave the Lakers the max he will receive is $87.6 million—$30.4 million less—on a four-year deal. But both options exaggerate Howard’s value if his first season with the Lakers matter.

Though pay checks sway athletes, the amount of money to offer Howard shouldn’t be the primary focus for any team considering him. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was the most overrated and disappointing player of the season.

Whether it was the hype and expectations, or the shoulder injury in January that plagued him throughout the remainder of the season, Howard didn’t perform at the level fans assumed he would. After Kobe’s season ending Achilles injury during the regular season, the possibility of the Lakers making the playoffs was slim, but they fought through and advanced.

Howard was positioned to lead the Lakers past the San Antonio Spurs in round one, which would have proven that they were the better Western Conference team and a contender without their leading scorer. It would have also proven that despite injury and adjustments, Howard is still a franchise player. But he failed his team in the worst possible way on the biggest stage; Howard was ejected in game 4 of the series.

Howard ended the season averaging 17.1 PPG, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks, which were significant decreases in stats. During the 2010-2011 season, Howard averaged 22.9 PPG and 14.1 rebounds with the Magic. His points per game decreased to 20.6 during the 2011-2012 season, before plummeting to 17.1 this season.

As a Laker, his numbers weren’t impressive, and neither was his lack of leadership.

The lethal combination of Kobe, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard was sure to be the West Coast version of the East’s “Big Three,” but chemistry, leadership, and skills can’t be forced.

If money is more important than winning championships and league MVP honors, the Laker’s $30.4 million advantage will be the deciding factor in Howard staying in L.A.

But if Howard is thinking like the experienced nine-year veteran that he is, he’ll embrace his inner Dirk Nowitzki—the Maverick told Dallas News that he will take a large pay cut in order to secure top free agents—and explore other options with the depth of a team in mind, not his paycheck.