Had enough of Dwight Howard? The saga has only just begun, and while Howard played it off at the trade deadline by saying he wanted to move on, all he did was stretch out the marathon. Orlando, even if they eventually figure they’ll have to trade Howard, will ride this train until the end, and we probably won’t see a deal for a while. The new Superman is too important, too big and has too much of an impact on the franchise to jump the gun and ship him out before working through all of their resources. And apparently, Dallas, the Lakers and Brooklyn aren’t the only teams prepared to offer deals for Howard. Houston wants him as well.
ESPN reports the Rockets have been pursuing Howard for two years. That’s believable. Houston was linked to Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Nene and a number of other productive frontcourt players in the last few years. They have depth, talent and an infrastructure that’s allowed them to remain competitive even without big names. But they don’t have an anchor, and that’s kept them out of the playoffs the last three years despite posting a combined record of 119-111.
So how would they get Howard? ESPN’s Chad Ford and Marc Stein report the Rockets want to swap their No. 14 and No. 16 picks in this week’s draft for a chance to move into the top 10. Kyle Lowry is also available, after the comments he made this summer regarding his disdain for Kevin McHale. Sacramento at No. 5 and Toronto at No. 8 seem to be willing trade partners. There were earlier reports the Rockets coveted Andre Drummond, who isn’t likely to fall out of the top 10. If he worked out, he could become the cornerstone Houston has been looking for since Yao Ming retired.
But why go for the project when the real thing is available? The Rockets now apparently want two top lottery picks, and will use them to entice Orlando to trade them Howard. Houston wants Howard so bad, they’re willing to trade for him even if he doesn’t promise to sign long-term in Texas.
New Magic general manager Rob Hennigan learned in OKC about building through the draft. But he also learned patience, and making a decision on Howard’s future this week seems like it would be out of character. But that won’t stop Houston from calling.
Would Howard in Houston make them a legit contender in the West?
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