With Rockets, Howard’s Future Is Now

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HANG TIME, Texas
— The potential of youth and talk of a bright future were definitely served in the dinnertime pitch to Dwight Howard upon the opening of free agency.

But the Rockets are also delivering the message that they can be immediate championship contenders if the seven-time NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year makes the move to Texas.

While the Houston contingent included Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and a long-distance Skype call from Yao Ming as links to the franchise’s past, the emphasis was placed on how quickly Howard could return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2009 (when he led the Magic in a five-game series loss to the Lakers).

That’s where all of the horse-trading and maneuvering done by general manager Daryl Morey over the past several years could pay off with the biggest dividend. Even after the Rockets dealt second-year forward Thomas Robinson to Portland to clear the necessary salary cap space to make Howard a four-year, $87 million maximum contract offer, Morey has positioned the Rockets to add more than just Howard to next season’s roster.

Through salary cap exceptions and future Draft picks they hold, the Rockets can build around the core of a young lineup of Howard, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik with the kind of experienced, veteran talent that could solidify the team in the playoffs.

Chances are, none of the other contenders in the Fight for Dwight could look Howard in the eye and tell him that he’d have a real shot at squaring off against LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Heat next June.

The Hawks do not possess the second elite-level player the Rockets have in Harden. The Warriors would have to work a sign-and-trade agreement with the Lakers to offer Howard a max contract and, in doing so, would probably have to shed the kind of teammates that would attract Howard.

Even in Dallas, owner Mark Cuban is admitting that his plan to get back into championship contention would likely take two years. With the aging Lakers, well, the clock just keeps ticking and they have virtually no cap room to boost the roster significantly immediately.

The Rockets are coming off a 45-win season and a first-round playoff series when they pushed No. 1 seed Oklahoma City to six games.

“They’re building something great in Houston,” Thunder star Kevin Durant said after that series.

The key is the bricks are in place to do it right now with Howard.

22 Comments

  1. lee says:

    i think the rockets are the best fit for howard idk about their coach but the have talent and some ways to add more talent then what the have already i could see this happening easy
    lin
    harden
    parsons
    ryan anderson trade
    howard

    that would be a exceptional starting 5 and it would surprise me if the could pull off something to bring in rajon rondo either who loves to give up the rock all of this team would be happy the could play fast ball or slow rebound shoot 3s and play d sounds like a championship team the other 7 guys the team up with them will matter but this would deff make a great team i like lin alot but he turns over the ball to much and im not sold on their coach but the rockets give howard the best chance of making money and winning a championship unless he wants to go to the heat in a sign and trade for bosh lol

    • sterling says:

      “I don’t know about their coach…” It’s only Kevin Mchale. No one special.

  2. driton says:

    Howard is a COWARD, he cant take the pressure here in LA. he said he wanted a big 3 in Houston but wants his own team in LA.. hes confused if you ask me and he wants all this spotlight but cant handle it. if you cant take the heat stay out of the kitchen.

  3. J says:

    great article!!! short and sweet!!!
    houston or gs

  4. fanofthegame says:

    Dwight Howard has to mature as a person. This is getting to be worse than “THE DECISION” of 2010 and all that drama that Lebron created. Dwight Howard first and foremost must take a stand to improve himself as a person and as a player. Not many shotblocking, alley-ooping big men actually won championships being the center piece of a team. The center piece of a championship team should be a go-to guy on offense, must be able to make game changing plays down the stretch, and most of all, take responsibility for the team, win or lose. So the first thing Dwight Howard has to do… is put on his BIG BOY Shorts… to borrow a phrase from Kobe Bryant.

  5. Martin says:

    I love the idea of howard going to houston where he belongs, it would be best for him if he went to houston where he belongs.

  6. William says:

    Kevin, the Rockets can win now and in the future with Howard, while the Laker’s have to wait to clear salary cap room and rebuild? By that time Howard will be signing his new contract.

  7. Brepsel says:

    If he signs with the rockets, Asik will be moved and so will Lin. If they can get a solid pf like hickson in a sign-and-trade with Portland they will have a decent roster capable of competing for a championship. Maybe a veteran point guard like Calderon could help them out too. A sign-and-trade with the Pistons could happen

  8. SWEETROLL says:

    The best place for D-12 is HOUSTON! Get the ball to the BIG MAN! Lin, Parsons, Hardin are young and fast. With a low-post threat on the block, teams will have to double…..HAND DOWN MAN DOWN! If you don’t believe me, go ask MARK JACKSON AND THE GOLDEN STATE WIMPS!

  9. Calvino says:

    Earth to Fran: the Rockets have already placed Lin and Asik on the trading block because Howard is asking for a third superstar (clearly, his buddy Parsons doesn’t count).

  10. aussiephil says:

    lakers should do what boston is doing trade away everyone a create cap space for next years big free agency and build a team then

  11. man the rockets should trade lin and try to get rondo from boston and then sign either smith or iguodala esther of howard

  12. Gian Carlo says:

    Harden,Parsons,Lin,Asik, and Howard.Who’s not on your proper mind won’t be scared on this starting line up. You got an outside threat on Harden,Parsons and Lin,not to mention their gang up attitude on attacking the rim.
    Most of all Howard and Asik in the paint is awesome,considering Asik’s brilliance in boards,and so unselfishly not even demanding any balls inside. It will be a nightmare for the opposing team to match up.
    Maybe first time on your proper mind D12, that you’ll made a proper decision on your nba career, it is like championship served on a silver platter.
    I just made it easy for you to decide D12!

  13. Kevin says:

    Funny how Houston is considered to be better than the Lakers. Last season, the Lakers were the #7 seed in the West. Houston was #8. In 2014, the Lakers will have insanse salary cap space with Kobe, Gasol, Metta, etc. off of the books. If Dwight bolts LA, he is not looking at the big picture.

    • RockyZ says:

      You are not seeing the big picture. The lakers finished 7th seed with DH. flip him to Houston and Lakers are way back, like 10th or 12th seed. Put DH on last years Rockets and theya re easily 4th or 5th seed. So you have a huge delta. Add a little more help and with young players like Lin, Parsons, Harden, and Beverly improving, and youa re to elite level. Lakers have no chance to become elite anytiime soon.

  14. gs says:

    I think tht DH12 should go to a team like GSW would be a nice fit, with Curry, Thompson, & Barnes, no question the Warriors would elevate themselves right in the Western Conf as Serious contenders, I think a better fit then the Rockets or Mavs, without question. Don’t sleep on GSW with a bonafide Big Man!!!

    • Abdulll says:

      You haven’t paid any attention. The whole issue with GS is that they will have to give up some of those good young players on the roster to LA if they want to bring in D12. They don’t have the salary cap space that Houston does and LA has a leg up in negotiations with them. Dwight we’ll just end up being on a team of average/mediocre players again.

  15. Chris says:

    You’ve got to little to no idea what you’re talking about. Howard’s seen more time on the pinewood last season than usual due to injury, and Kobe and many other players in that locker-room have come out and said that Dwight is a great teammate.

    The relationship problem comes from the coaching staff and Dwight Howard butting heads. The offense is stagnant, the defense is lethargic and they’re getting older and older with no cap-room to bring in new pieces. I feel like Dwight is looking at the biggert picture. A larger market team, with a good city vibe to raise a family, make some good money & play for a team with a future. He’s still young and has alot of time in this league to make some noise.

  16. polio pascual says:

    get lost howard coward….i hate him coz he act like a child on/off court..he has poor decision making and immature….much better if NBA committee sent to D league

  17. Alex says:

    Hmmm…. Dwight on Rockets…. seems like his Laker teammates are not that fond of him anymore. Maybe he will have better luck on a new team. This guy needs to man up and start stretching those muscles. He looks like a huge box, awkward and ungraceful, when he plays ball.