The Houston Rockets are a mess. They just dropped their third game of the season to the Denver Nuggets, who are not a very good team. They’re 12-13 and look lost in most areas. Star center Dwight Howard is a free agent at the end of this year.
You know where this is going.
SheridanHoops.com reports that Howard is unhappy and that the Rockets could look to move the former All-Star.
Dwight Howard is extremely unhappy in Houston playing second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden, multiple league sources tell SheridanHoops.com. And with the Rockets underachieving more than any NBA team, look for them to try to move Howard later this season.
The wording here is kind of where things get notable. It describes the idea that Howard isn’t unhappy with the losing, or the atmosphere, or his role, but instead doesn’t want to be James Harden’s sidekick. That’s a little surprising. Howard and Harden have played together for three seasons now. All of a sudden, Howard is unhappy with being Robin to the Beard’s Batman? The Rockets worked for years and years to try and acquire All-Stars like Howard. Now they’re going to ditch him because of a bad month?
It seems unlikely, but it’s becoming more and more evident that the Rockets need some form of change. And with things like this, that’s when rumors of this nature start to swirl. It should be noted, though, that the Rockets are 7.9 points better per 100 possessions with Howard on the floor. He’s still a huge net positive for them, and any trade would have to return a player who could do the things he can defensively.
Sheridan speculates that the Heat could be the team to look for a Howard trade, but doesn’t specifically cite sources that indicate the Heat have such an interest. Miami could send Hassan Whiteside, but while Whiteside’s block numbers are insane, and he definitely has a defensive impact, his rotation awareness and pick and roll discipline is lightyears behind Howard. It also would make little sense for Miami to pursue a deal for Howard, given that it would be a short-term rental and in order to re-sign him this summer, they would be limiting the money they have available to pursue Kevin Durant.
However, if this was something they wanted to do, to combine Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard … and if Mickey Arison wanted to spend the gross national product of a mid-sized European nation on the luxury tax, then the move would be to trade for Howard, sign Durant, and then re-sign Wade and Howard using their bird-rights.
It would form a super-duper-ultra team, which we know Pat Riley covets, but the money involved, and the logistics involved in that kind of a series of moves … well, it just seems a little far-fetched, even for a franchise that pulled off the 2010 free agency caper.
Either way, keep an eye on Houston. There’s definitely smoke. We just have to wait to see if there’s fire.