The Houston Rockets are undoubtedly in need of a big man to help strengthen their cause next season, but is Dwight Howard the answer?
Absolutely not, a thousand times over.
However, that hasn’t prevented Houston from exploring the ill-thought and potentially harmful.
One rival general manager…believes Houston’s real aim is acquiring two top-10 picks this week to turn around quickly and offer both to the Orlando Magic as part of a considerable trade offer for Dwight Howard.
Really? A team that just missed the playoffs is prepared to blow up its roster to move up in the draft, and then trade said picks, along with whatever tangible assets they have left, to Orlando for an egotistical center fresh off back surgery? That’s absolutely absurd.
And it becomes even more absurd when David Aldridge of NBA.com notes the frightening reality the Rockets would eventually have to face after acquiring Howard.
Amid a report that stated the Houston Rockets are hoping to amass enough trade assets to make a deal with the Orlando Magic for Dwight Howard–even though Howard would only be in Houston for one season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013 — a source with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said Monday that there was “not a chance” Howard would be persuaded to remain in Houston if traded there, and would leave next summer to sign elsewhere.
So essentially, the Rockets would be mortgaging their future on a rental. They can cling to the hope they wil convince Howard to sign a long term deal once they have him in their clutches, but after being forced to trade anyone of value just to obtain the big men, such efforts would prove fruitless.
The Rockets need a star to anchor in the roster, but decimating their core isn’t the way to get one. If they want to turn their two first round picks into a high lottery one that’s fine, but they should keep it for themselves. And they should then take to free agency to maintain and strengthen their current roster.
Houston is a team that was a heartbeat away from a playoff berth and yet, it now seems to be approaching this offseason like its wearing the same pants as the Charlotte Bobcats.
As important as this offseason is to the Rockets, it is not do or die. It’s crucial, but if they fail to make a substantial upgrade in the low post—or anywhere else for that matter—it’s hardly the end of the world.
But trading Howard would be. The Rockets don’t have that second star to convince him to stay, nor is the Houston market as appealing as Boston’s, Los Angeles’ or New York’s.
Dealing for Howard wouldn’t be admitting defeat for the Rockets, it would be embracing it. And that’s why Houston must avoid involving itself in this soap opera any further.
Much like the Magic have been forced to do, the Rockets need to let their Howard aspirations go, fade off into the sunset and focus on building a playoff contender.
Not engage in self-inflicted depletion.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.