HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Got any idea who’ll be suiting up for the Houston Rockets on opening night in late October?
Gone from last year’s rotation are Chase Budinger, Marcus Camby, Samuel Dalembert, Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee and Kyle Lowry. In their place are a bundle of draft picks and a bunch of spare parts from Milwaukee, Minnesota and New York.
Right now, the Rockets have three guys who are NBA starters: Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons and Luis Scola. But Martin and Scola have both been reportedly involved in talks for Dwight Howard.
With the Nets out of the picture, the Rockets might have the inside track on Howard. But to get him, they would likely need to waive Scola via the amnesty clause, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle…
The Rockets are open to the three-team deal in which they would receive Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum, with Howard going to the Lakers, but are primarily working directly with the Magic to acquire Howard, the individual with knowledge of the talks said.
Getting in position for the planned next move will be difficult. To create enough cap room for the kind of blockbuster trade that has been proposed, the Rockets are considering making veteran forward Luis Scola an amnesty cut, likely in the next 48 hours, a person with knowledge of the move said. That would create enough cap room for the Rockets to take on the additional contracts necessary to complete a trade for Howard.
Scola, 32, is due $21 million guaranteed over the next three seasons. The Rockets could wait until Tuesday to make Scola an amnesty cut, by which he would receive his full guaranteed salary but not count against the salary cap or luxury tax figures.
Complicating things even more are the offer sheets that the Rockets have promised Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Those can’t be signed until everyone involved in the Camby trade passes his physical. And after they’re signed, the Knicks and Bulls will have three days to match.
Getting Howard is the priority here. And the Nets have just proven that you can “rent” a superstar and eventually convince him to re-sign.
But if the Rockets do land Howard, exactly who are they surrounding him with? A better team than the one he’s trying to escape from now?