Rockets Ready To Fill Howard’s Plate

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HANG TIME, Texas — When the Rockets sit down for dinner tonight in Los Angeles to begin the official courtship of Dwight Howard, the menu will include an appetizer plate full of history — but also a main course of red meat that is playing for future championships.

The Rockets contingent — led by team owner Leslie Alexander, general manager Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale – will include the Hall of Fame pairing of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler as links to the past, along with current players James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

While Olajuwon and Drexler can show off their gaudy jewelry won nearly two decades ago and make a pitch based on emotion and their love for the city of Houston, it is Harden and Parsons who should turn Howard’s head with the potential for getting his own championship ring.

That the Rockets are getting the first crack at Howard may or may not be significant in the outcome. But the truth is this should not even be a close decision for Howard if, as those around him say, it is strictly about basketball and which team holds the best chance to get him back to The Finals fastest. It is the Rockets with a 23-year-old All-Star in Harden, a dynamic 24-year-old running mate in Parsons and enough salary cap space and flexibility with contracts and trade exceptions to fill in any holes in the roster.  Toss in Omer Asik as Howard’s backup and Jeremy Lin as an open-court starter to the fast break and pick-and-roll dealer and the Rockets would clearly vault to the upper echelon of the Western Conference immediately.

The real ace in the hole, it would seem, is Howard getting a chance to work on an everyday basis with McHale, perhaps the greatest low-post player in the history of the game.  More than an occasional workout with Olajuwon — who played a completely different style — McHale could show Howard the way to take the next step up as an elite center.

Yes, the Lakers have a couple of All-Stars of their own, but 34-year-old Kobe Bryant is trying to come back from a torn Achilles’ tendon and soon-to-be-33-year-old Pau Gasol was never a comfortable fit together in the front court last season.  The rest of the Lakers roster was old and slow and simply not good enough to get any further than the first round of the playoffs, and little is going to change next season.

The Warriors will get their chance to sit down at the table with Howard and there will always be the appeal of playing before the most loyal, dedicated and rabid fans in the NBA. But to fully take advantage of the low post tools that Howard possesses would mean Golden State giving up much of the helter-skelter style and pace that Mark Jackson used to get his team into the playoffs and onto the second round.

The Mavericks will tell Howard that Dirk Nowitzki is willing to give up his position as the main cog in the offense to accommodate him.  However those two alone are not enough to make Dallas a contender, and that leaves the big man hoping that a deal could be made to bring in a talented point guard such as Rajon Rondo to run the show. Yet that is all just hope and hype to go with the promise that club owner Mark Cuban will make Howard the centerpiece of the franchise down the line and include him in all personnel decisions.

If it is strictly about basketball and winning championships, why would Howard return to a Lakers model that already failed and might take a step back Bryant’s health, a Warriors team that doesn’t play to his strengths or the Mavericks’ promise of building a team?

The basic parts are already in Houston and they’ll be sitting at with Howard tonight when menus are passed out.  The history that Olajuwon and Drexler bring will be tasty, but it’s the red meat of Harden and Parsons that should fill up his plate.

38 Comments

  1. dean says:

    Howard to the Rockets, best choice for all teams. LA is better off trading for a draft pick.

  2. polio pascual says:

    let howard coward send to D league unless hes matured and responsible enough….He still act like a child and poor decision making….If i were team consultant,don’t take a risk to acquire howard coward….As i said,let howard coward send to D league..maybe he develop his maturity there..

  3. J says:

    houston or golden state!!!

  4. AY says:

    Hope that Houston got DHoward..then Houston Rockets has the chance be a championship contender…go Rockets!!

  5. MeloFan#!1 says:

    Howard is Trash!! point blank

  6. Ro says:

    If and when Dwight Howard signs with Houston. We should then turn around and pursuit Al Jefferson in a sign and trade for Asik. (Why overpay for a back up center?) invest that money in your weakest position “4″

    Starting lineup:
    Lin, Harden, Parsons, Jefferson, Howard
    Bench:
    Beverly, Garcia, Smith, Jones, Montiejunas

    I’ll be ok with that.

    Go Rockets!!

  7. Chad says:

    Another incentive is in Lin. Not so much his on-court ability but the asian market which he brings to the rockets franchise. In Yao’s Era, rocket bench scrubs were getting exposure and endorsement in Asia and making money they otherwise wouldn’t on other team. As with all other NBA stars, Howard is already popular in China, but if he played for the rockets, he’ll be bigger and earn even more than he is already.

  8. Lakers4life says:

    Aw,heck no Howard to Warriors we don’t need that huge drama queen.He should just go to the Rockets.

  9. charles says:

    Houston has the best chance for Howard to land a championship….and for Howard to learn some new skills from Kevin McHale and Hakeem the Dream….

  10. mark says:

    DWIGHT HOWARD wil NOT I repeat NOT sign with LA or better known as the 15 or 16 time nba champions home of hall of famers jerry west wilt the stilt chamberlin shaq oneil kobe bryant and all other nba greats there have been mvp.s finals mvp.s the home of champions from the days of the big dipper to the days Abdul jabbar.s sky hook and the show time lakers ervin magic johnson to the end of the 90.s end begining of the millenium as, we remember the 3peat from the kobe and shaq days what am I getting to you ask yourself ……. well these guys that I mention where great and are the best ever dominant and champions. DH won’t sign because if he signs and does not win a ring the world will not or should I say will never say he was 1 of the greatest to play so he can’t take the pressure that’s why no more orlando that’s why no more LA I hope I’m wrong but I feel he does not have that mentality of winning it all or loseing and being the reason the team lost so he needs to land somewhere that will be happy with the idea of winning and will be satisfied with just signing him LA. Wont be happy unless they a ring thank you have a good day

  11. Mandy says:

    The choice of whose got the better deal… goes to the Dallas Mavericks as they’re the only ball club with built-in run way for superman’s short take- off.

  12. Jay says:

    Dwight: take the extra money and own the locker room. Shut Kobe down. It won’t be as hard as you think. His Achilles has ended his career and most L.A. fans who understand the game realize that Kobe is one giant P.I.A.

    You’ll have to give this season away because the team will go no where but when 2014 rolls around, it will be your time because management will get you the big time player you deserve.

    So here’s the deal: stand up to management and demand the following:
    -amnesty Kobe – hopefully, he’ll just go away at that point and jack up bricks and menacing, meaningless frowns somewhere else.
    -demand that D’Antoni be set packing after the season.

    Those 2 simple things will place the Lakers in your hands and then it will be up to you bring home the Championships. You’d have to be crazy to leave this town and arguably the best franchise in the NBA.

    Whatever you decide, NBA fans know you are a beast. Good luck young fella.

  13. jah1z says:

    Fran, you of all people, know Dream would serve as a better Teacher than McHale in post-moves. Name ONE guy McHale imparted his post-moves to? And no, Garnett didn’t learn anything from McHale as far as post-moves. Ask Asik what post-moves McHale taught him because I can tell you, the Rockets ran an uptempo offense that neglect the Big Man down low this season. Don’t be silly, dude. Dream is a Teacher in the true sense of the word, which is why, if Howard signs with the Rockets, Dream will be put on the payroll to mentor and train Howard before practices. Essentially serving as a personal Coach to Howard.

    If McHale was an ideal choice and being the Coach, there would be no need to hire Hakeem to work with Howard for a season. Bottom line, Howard will benefit more with Dream than anything McHale would teach him. If Asik didn’t learn anything from McHale, he certainly has NOTHING to teach Howard either. Common sense.

  14. Martin says:

    If howard doesnt go to houston hes an idiot,hes gonna be coached by mchale, the greatest low post player ever and get tutored by olajuwon, one of the greatest centers ever, in houston he could put up 25pts, 15reb, 3 blocks nightly

  15. dwight coward says:

    the rockets will get myself + iggy and will be unstoppable!!

  16. Tucker says:

    Howard will probably got to the Rockets. Stupid Lakers fans don’t recognize that the Rockets were just about as good as the Lakers last year. The Rockets don’t have to give up any players to get Dwight so they’re gonna be a lot better. Hopefully McHale can teach Dwight how to play back to the basket. His post game is pathetic but if he listens to McHale that might around.

    • realist2013 says:

      The Rockets were an all new team Daryl blew up the roster last season to make room for howard now. All the nimrods talking about the Rockets and Harden realize this was their first year and they made the playoffs and took OKC to 6 games having never played together. Now they have a year of getting to knkw each other and polish that. Thats why they are front runners. LA fans need to take blinders off. Lakers have no cash. Their bench is horrible, Gasol needs a new team he’s too emotional since all the trade talks. Kobe wont let Nash be the beast he is and Kobe doesnt realize how Howard establishing himself as the futre would open the floor for him like when Shaq was there. Product of coming out of high school to the league with no maturity. Same thing Lebron is doing now. Durant one of the few high school leapers to be humble and not have to chest pump and cry over what other people say.

  17. Arnel says:

    i think it is a good deal if Howard stays in LA or move to Houston. that’s it. but that does not mean they will be a contender againts the Heat. As soon the Miami gets a decent center.., keep Bosh as a PF (which is his real position) and the big three stays healthy… it is very tough for any team east or west to beat Miami.

  18. NBA Fan says:

    No doubt Dwight Howard is headed to Houston. They will get Dwight Howard the ball more often like they did with Asik and Smith. Also keeping Lin is I think what’s best for the rockets. See what happens. Don’t just try and quickly go for a star point guard or something like that, that’s stupid.

  19. Paul Friedericks says:

    Very well written Fran…

  20. CFWood says:

    Its funny that the Rockets played at an even faster pace than the Warriors yet the Warriors are “helter-skelter”. I don’t necessarily think that the Warriors are a better fit, but the personnel aren’t really better when you throw in the shooting of Curry and Thompson and the potential of Barnes.

    • Christhabarber says:

      They don’t have they money to sign him. Would be a sign and trade, which means they would give up a few of those young great players. He is going to Houston. Its the best choice. Period and point blank.

      • c'mon now says:

        they could do a sign and trade with the warriors. lakers could get andrew bogut and jarret jack and or carl landry. its a win win for both teams

  21. Deni says:

    Dirk and Dwight not enough to contend for championship but Harden and Dwight are? Rockets are young and inexperienced teams & are one of the worst on defense! If they play similar to Orlando then why would he leave Orlando in the first place? Extremely easy choise: Lakers! They are a franchise that works to be a contender every year and has the best chances to aquire pieces in free agency every summer! So if he is after championships LA Lakers is the way to go! If he’s after money LA Lakers is the way to go! If he is after fame & legacy Los Angeles Lakers is the way to go!

    • Christhabarber says:

      Well he is leaving LA. He will be a Rocket. Watch

    • jm13 says:

      Orlando never had another star and also failed to take chances and build around Howard. The Lakers have too little cap to surround their stars with key pieces. They also are just running a bad system for any big man to play. Defense isnt a worry with someone who is know for defense alone. He was Orlando defense.

  22. Lakers16 says:

    In what universa are the Rockets better. If you guys go from a basketball stand point Steve Nash better then Lin, Paul Gasol better the Omar and parson. Kobe was better in every stat then harden. They barely made the playoffs. They couldn’t beat hobbled team to get the seventh sead. If you talk about future we got money to go after a superstar to play with Dwight. I also think Paul has a lot of trade value, most skilled big man with an expiring contract. Lakers are his best chance.

    • Christhabarber says:

      The Rockets are better by far. Youngest team in the league. Leading scoring team in the league. The Lakers did win the last game but the rockets also beat them with all the players. Lakers are a fallen ball club sir. Tine to face it. Old and trash. We were in the race all year. The Lakers needed the last game to get in. Kiss Howard good-bye. He will choose the best team and it won’t be LA

      • joey Olney says:

        Nobody on the Rockets is a proven player. James harden can ball but look at him in the playoffs. Hes solid but he did not show up last season or in the finals so i question that. Chandler parson is solid but he aint done nothing to show he got what it takes so if D12 says its about championships thats npt the way to go. D12 is a beast but he cant carry that houston team and put them over the hump. He needs someone like kobe to go to war with someone who we know can get the job done. His best option is to stay with LA.

  23. Wisdom says:

    I wouldn’t say, “anything else won’t put him anywhere close”
    The rockets would become an elite West team, but they would still struggle with San Antonio and OKC.
    OKC would give him the best chance to win a title immediately, as they are a step away from being able to consistently beat SA and the Heat.
    Howard will have to be okay with co-starring with someone to win titles though, and I’m not sure he is.
    If he becomes that awesome teammate, then the Thunder would be the best place for him.
    Just think Ibaka-Howard blocking shots and KD-Westbrook running the offense… best team ever.
    It would be nice to see OKC laugh in Miami’s face will pilling titles up that Lebron wanted.
    As for salary cap, the trade would mean giving Perkins up for picks, not resigning K-Mart.
    However, if Howard truly just cares about titles, he would take a pay cut and be the one calling OKC, telling them to resign K-mart, cause he will take a little less than other places… it would be doable if you look at OKC’s salaries- just gotta get rid of Perk and one other high salary (then the key would just be chemistry and staying healthy)

    Granted if you don’t go OKC, Rockets would have to be the next best place, but they will still struggle to be OKC who has a strong core for the future as the Spurs age in the West.

    Ultimately, to win titles you have to have a lot of guns to take on the Heat (think Yankees-Athletics like in Moneyball, but this time it’s vets signing for cheap to get under salary cap).

  24. ATLienC4 says:

    I think the hawks will take him…. josh smith and al horford is all he need… along with coach bud… dont sleep on atlanta….

  25. underdog says:

    How about Rondo to Rockets.. I don’t know if the salaries work when Lin+Asik are offered.. I mean that’s better than what the Mavz can offer Rondo.. Or a sign and trade for Josh Smith and Jeff teague for Asik and Lin… My point is this Rockets team will be good if not only for Lin. Trade Lin get a better PG suited for McHale’s system

  26. nasus says:

    Houston is about the sport, not the ego and drama – witness Jeremy Lin’s gracious half-step back from the lights and cameras when James Harden came in, or even Harden’s on-court coaching to help everyone old and new mesh as a team. I’m not sure the same can be said of Mr. Howard. We do TEAM here; not really sure what he’s doing at any given point in time …

  27. realist2013 says:

    No brainer. He learns from the dream and mchale arguably the 2 best low post players ever. Rockets love inside out gameplay something they havent been able to do since Yao and Olajuwon days. Plenty of 3 point shooting and a young team that can run and play defense. Anything else wont put him anywhere close unless by some miracle Rondo shows up in a Mavs jersey haha

  28. Orlando says:

    I wish he went to the Rockets for the PR and the style of play being near like Orlando but I think he will stay with the Lakers. The money and Kobe will have a huge say and sway his decision. That being said he won’t be the controversial polarizing PR player LeBron was because not a lot of people marketed or paid attention to him despite what his decision will be.

    • Lakersss says:

      Just because you said that, Howard will not stay with the Lakers. But, th Lakers should sign Delfino and Brooks from Rockets. They need a good PG and 3-pt shooter to spread the floor!!

  29. lee lovitt says:

    i think the rockets should trade and get ryan anderson if the sign howard andthen try to work out a trade to get rondo and get rid of lin the have enough trade exceptions and caproom all together that this could be done and their is plenty of free agents who could give this team more d and 3 point shooting