Houston Rockets head coach J.B. Bickerstaff (their second head coach this season) recently referred to his squad as a "broken team." Last year's Western Conference finalists hit the All-Star break a game under .500 at 27-28, on the outside of the playoffs looking in. It appears that it may be blow-it-up time in Houston.
From Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski:
Howard, 30, plans to exercise an opt-out in his contract this summer to become an unrestricted free agent, and uncertainty surrounding the commitment both sides are willing to make has pushed Houston general manager Daryl Morey toward seeking potential trades on the market, league sources said.
Woj also noted that Howard is expected to seek a max deal this offseason (more on that in a bit). Howard's 2015-16 salary is close to $23 million. Now that the tide has turned from "Is Dwight Howard available?" to "The Rockets want to get rid of Dwight Howard," his value appears to be falling dramatically.
On @SportsCenter just now, @ESPNSteinLine said to keep an eye on Celtics as a suitor for Howard because they have Lee's contract to give up.— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) February 12, 2016
Boston was the only team Marc Stein mentioned. Apparently in the ever-shifting pre-trade-deadline landscape, the story of the moment is that there are very few teams that might be interested in Howard who also have the ability to pay him. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey may actually pick up the phone and call Danny Ainge simply because the Celtics are looking to dump David Lee and his $15.5 million expiring contract.
Woj's colleague Bobby Marks at The Vertical went into great detail about this, and proposed the following:
My first reaction upon seeing this was "Wow, is it really possible the C's could get Howard without letting go of anything they really care about?" But, then I thought about it a little more and read these tweets:
Dwight Howard is 30 and will want 5/$170M. His RPM and BPM are below Kelly Olynyk's; WS/48 are the same. He's a C w/ back and knee injuries.— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) February 12, 2016
How about this: Beyond this season, I would rather have Jonas Jerebko for 1/$5M than Dwight for 5/$170M.— Ryan Bernardoni (@dangercart) February 12, 2016
I agree that paying Howard $170 million for five years is probably a bad idea. So the question then becomes, what's it worth giving up to bring him in just to see what happens this season? Could the Celtics with Howard get to the East Finals? Absolutely. Could they beat Cleveland? Probably not, but their chances would be a lot better than they are now and I'd love to see them try.
Many fans will say there's no point to this if they're not title contenders, but I firmly disagree. Postseason success is awesome on any level--people forget that the whole purpose of the NBA is entertainment, and the playoffs are wildly entertaining.
In regards to Marks' potential trade, I like Jerebko a lot, but he's definitely not the key to any of Boston's future success. However, one of those two draft picks might be. If Danny could finagle it down to only one, I'd be in for sure (there's also an outside chance Brad Stevens could turn Harrell in Jae Crowder 2.0). Even if Howard turns out to be a huge bust, the risk is minimal and it's a shot worth taking.
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Mark Van Deusen 2/12/2016 07:05:00 AM Tweet Edit