The most dominant big man in the game seems to still be on his way out of Orlando either through a trade or free agency. It looked as if Dwight Howard got over whatever it was that bothered him in Orlando, and agreed to wave his early termination option (ETO) and continued playing with the Magic for the remainder of the season. Almost immeadiately everyone came to the conclusion that it was a bad idea. Howard and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy butted heads on a nightly basis. I think his time in Orlando is finished. I expect the Magic front office to start looking for trade partners as soon as the NBA Finals are over. Which is what he wanted all along. He has a list of teams he would prefer to play with, but there’s a handful of teams who would take a chance of gutting their roster to land the start big man who could possibly walk away from the team after the season is over. The Rockets look to be the biggest contenders in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.
It was reported that the Rockets were very close to landing Howard back in March before the trade deadline, and had Howard not changed his mind on his opt-out clause; he would have been the newest big man to wear the red and silver since Yao Ming. Howard made this decision because with the new CBA he wouldn’t have been able to get the max contract he desires with a new team. Howard would either have to take max money with the Rockets or take significantly less money from another team.
Dwight Howard is by far the best center in the league in my opinion. He won three straight Defensive Player of the Year awards before this season. He’s bigger, stronger, and more athletic than any othe center in the league. His post up game and shooting need a lot of work, but he still gives you 20 points on a nightly basis. This season he lead his team in points 20.6 while shooting 57% from the field, rebounds 14.5, steals 1.5, and blocks with 2 in 39 minutes a game. He missed 17 games including the playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. You would have to think if Howard didn’t have season ending back surgery the Magic would have atleast been competitive in that series.
The Rockets have two very serviceable centers in Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert. They also have Greg Smith who could potentially be a nice center/power forward for the Rockets in the future. But none of them compare to Dwight Howard. The Rockets struggle tremendously with interior defense. Scola gives you nothing defensively and Patterson is still very raw on both ends of the court. Camby and Dalembert have to guard the paint virtually by themselves on every defensive play. Which leads to easy buckets by the opposing teams big men. The Rockets make the most average big man look like a star on a nightly basis. It’s pathetic, and a guy like Howard could change all of that, with his range, shot blocking ability, athleticism, and high basketball IQ. The combined stats of Camby and Dalembert are 12.5 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal a game. Howard averages 8 more points, 2 less rebounds, 1 less block, and a half a steal more than Dalembert an Camby combined. So you can see that the Rockets desperately need a big man with Howard’s talent.
In my opinion Howard has acted very immature this season. He needs to man up and make a decision and stick to it. If he wants out he needs to just come out and say it. There are a lot of teams that want and need his services and are willing to gut their team to get him, which would ease the pain for the Magic. He is ruining his reputation around the league and with fans.
If i was Daryl Morey, the only way i would attempt to trade for Dwight Howard is if he agrees to an extension. But that’s not how Morey does the job. He loves to take risks and go after every star player available. He has attempted to land Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Deron Williams just to name a few. Before the season started he made a trade for Pau Gasol only for it to be stopped by Commissioner David Stern. A lot of fans are tired of the front office not landing a superstar and continuing to put out a mediocre team year after year. In my opinion Morey has done a wonderful job as General Mananger of the Houston Rockets. He has tried time after time to land a star, only for them to go somewhere else either through a trade or free agency. Let’s face it, the Rockets are not a big market team. It’s difficult to convience superstar players to come here. Instead the fans should start pointing their finger at Owner Les Alexander. He continues to fight for the 8th seed in the Western Conference every year. He needs to either gut the team and rebuild, trade the draft picks to move up in the draft, throw big money at star free agents, or make a blockbuster trade. Things need to change this summer. If it’s Howard or somebody else, this has to be the year the Rockets land a franchise player.