Rockets’ Howard Fantasy Up In Smoke

HOUSTON — For the better part of the week, putting All-Star Dwight Howard into the middle of their lineup was the stuff of the Rockets’ dreams.

In the end it was strictly fantasy. A pipe dream.

As the draft approached, general manager Daryl Morey was said to be dealing more than a four-armed casino worker. He sent Chase Budinger to Minnesota to acquire an extra first round pick. Then he shipped Samuel Dalembert to Milwaukee in order to jump up two spots from 14th to 12th.

Those were supposed to be just the first dominos falling as Morey kept inching and climbing his way closer to the top of the lottery selections. Could he get the No. 8 pick from Toronto? The No. 7 from Golden State? The No. 5 from Sacramento? Or even the No. 2 from Charlotte?

Put one or more of those choice selections with a veteran such as Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and/or Luis Scola and the idea was to entice Orlando with a nice rebuilding package in exchange for Howard.

So, Magic, how would you like to take your pick among Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones?

That bag of three kids is what the Rockets were left holding after they couldn’t swing a blockbuster deal and wound up making all of their own.

More noise out of the Rockets that produced nothing. This time you could call the reaction that greeted their No. 12 selection in the first round as “The Silence of the Lamb.”

“We tried,” said Arturas Karnisovas, director of scouting.

So did everybody who bought a ticket in last week’s Powerball lottery.

It would seem the swing-for-fences approach on Howard is dead and now the Rockets’ search for an All-Star caliber player to be the foundation of the franchise plods on.

There is, of course, free agency and the entire summer off-season to get something done. But Houston’s roster is not exactly loaded with elite level trade bait. And it was in fact just days a few days ago when coach Kevin McHale said he was not looking forward to adding more youth to his team.

“I would as soon have one or two veterans,” McHale said. “Those guys are going to be like rookies again for us. To add two more – we’ve had that discussion quite a bit. You can only get so young in our league and be successful. It’s that blend of trying to make sure we don’t have all guys who are 19 to 20 years old.”

Yet with Lamb (20), White (21) and Jones (20), the Rockets now have 10 of the current 15 players on their roster who are 24 or under and eight who are under 23 and under.

It was a week that began with the Rockets in pursuit of Dwight Howard to pull their wagon and ended with them needing to buy a minivan so that McHale could drive his kiddie corp to practice.


  1. Sean says:

    with the pices that we have here and the strong nuclues that we are getting from this drat and the trades then when it comes to the freagent freenzy we could get a super star or 2 if possible plus get 2 draft picks in the top 10 and lets not forget about the pick the mavs ow us and might give us.. I mean look give it a year and people are going to say that Dwightmare would of still been going on if dwight came here.. GO HOUSTON GO!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Sean says:

    I think that the rockets are going to be betting better this year na possible 2 top 10 draft picks next year like mabye the 1st and 6th pick.. that would be great.. I love this team and with a few more moves I can see this tema bieng even be more dangreous then when rick was here. An hey if the y become deadly then a coach like him might come back.. GO HOUSTON GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Donald Jackson says:

    how about drafting some one out of the military. I’m over the age of 23. I can get it done. Choose me

  4. roger552 says:

    I think they stop thinking about trading for a Dwight Howard they should just keep what they have and see how it works out because if you about it the rockets do have a team that maybe in two years can be a dangerous team

  5. yash says:

    i think the real problem is with the rockets gm. first he traded battier for johnny flynn and hashim tabit who he thought would be the next hakeem. then he was instrumental in firing rick adelman for kevin mchale, cos rick didnt play defense which i agree .but after 62 games this past season the rockets didnt play any offense and sure as hell there was no defense. now he has traded a 2 year veteran budinger for a 18th round pick who was 44% from behind the arc. i can do a better job for this organisation then morey and that too for free. cos i love the rockets .we won just one playoff series in 15 years. open ur eyes mr: alexander. kevin and morey is a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • roslolian says:

      LOL where the haters up now?! The Houston Rockets just dominated summer league with 4 guys who can all ball, including Machado who’s looking like a solid backup pg.

  6. pz says:

    No big man, long year- depressed.

  7. Zane says:

    also, forget Dwight…the Rockets are not on his mind…He is having a hard time deciding whether to stay in Orlando or go with D. Williams and the Brooklyn Nets. By the time this next season ends, it will be too late…THE ROCKETS TIME IS NOW…Screw Dwight… #JUSTSAYING

  8. GoBulls says:

    If people think the Howard-trade mess is chaotic, they should see what happens when Howard becomes a free agent

  9. americanboy50 says:

    Obviously noone has read SI this week. If Royce White does not blow up mentally like Ron Artest, he has the potential to be another Lebron. Let’s hope the signing bonus does not make him more like Rick Mahorn. But really, Lamb to replace oft-injured Martin. Terrance Jones a better inside guy and shooter than Pat Patterson. I’d like to see all three start and run run run run like OKC and Golden State. Scoring is definitely more entertaining than bully ball Eastern Conference. No skillz except for finding a way to flop without making it too obvious.

  10. SAK says:

    I believe who needs to be traded is Daryl Morey, we get good players and there they go( out the door). Shane Battier,
    for one, who was a great defender for players like (Kobe, Dirk, Manu, etc.) Look who gets a RING.

  11. Noel says:

    Did not really like it. Super loaded with FORWARDS which is NOT really needed. Anyway, I was just wondering why they haven’t picked Perry Jones III when they got the chance. At least he could be played as a 1 if needed. Knee problems perhaps? Any further thoughts though?

  12. DJ says:

    I was hoping for some big deal also, although I’m pretty excited about the players they picked up. 3 solid players in Lamb, White & Jones. I’m guessing Scola & Martin will be gone pretty soon. Hopefully we could get Hibbert..or even Bynum?

  13. Jermaine says:

    Didn’t Dwight already say that he wasn’t going to go to Houston, even before they made all these trades? I might be wrong, but I could’ve sworn I’d read that somewhere. Even though McHale says he doesn’t want anymore young players, I think the Rockets picked up three draft picks that could be solid contributors to the team.

    • Print_Master says:

      Yes you are right. It stated that he would rather play with the Knicks or Miami. Never did it say anything about Houston.

    • hoopfan says:

      the rockets was willing to rent dwight for a year and just gonna hope that they can convince him to re-sign for a long term. after one season. that’s what they’ve said on the past articles. so really it was orlando’s decision that they’re waiting for. good thing that didn’t happen.

  14. Danny says:

    Funny – everyone crushes the Rockets for both not rebuilding over the years and when they look as though they are now going to try and rebuild then everyone crushes them for that too.

  15. George says:

    can anyone mention any SMART decisiom made by Mc Hale in management?

    • dattebayo says:

      Well, he drafted Kevin Garnett and traded for Kevin Love, who at the time were not considered the allstar talents they are now.

  16. Arky says:

    It isn’t what they wanted to do, but honestly it’s a better move in the long run that continuing to sit at the end of the lottery as a 0.500 kind of team.. They can still move Lowry with Martin or Scola (or both) for a long term star to anchor the roster alongside Dragic as the youth grow up.

  17. Spiller says:

    It’s a stupid move, though I would have liked to see some blockbuster trade!
    Still they start 3-4 rookies and they will have a good chance to get the 1st overall next year. Enough to start rebuilding OKC-Style

    • Spiller says:

      Sorry wanted to say, it’s not a stupid move.

      • TTKIN says:

        Agreed, they didnt get the piece they wanted, but they got 3 picks and a coach who knows how to teach. This roster wont give them a ring, but they are setup for some decent trades in the future. Everyone keeps looking for the next superstar to build around but that is so stupid, this is a team game. they dont need to trade the whole team for a superstar. They need to trade to get pieces that mix well (cough cough opposite of NY cough).