BY: RAMZY KAWAJA
It’s frustrating to think about how close the Rockets have been in acquiring a star lately. First, it was the vetoed trade. Then it was the report that if Dwight Howard hadn’t waived his opt-out clause, he would’ve been donning a mustard and ketchup uniform at some point before the season was over. Some believe that the reason he gave up the final-year option was because he didn’t want to come to Houston, much less sign an extension. This shouldn’t deter GM Daryl Morey from going all out for the guy. Just having him opens up a myriad of possibilities and the best chance ever to reel the club from the relentless grip of mediocrity.
1. Try to win him over with cash and kindness. Per the new collective bargaining agreement, no other team would have been able to offer Howard more money than the team that had him under the contract the big man was opting out of. Building a solid nucleus around this “Superguy” and winning games could very well sway him into staying. With the international talent on its way and some smart free-agent signings, who knows.
2. Flip Dwight and sell very high. The Rockets aren’t the only team interested in renting the center’s services. Try and get a superstar who actually does want to be here. There arguably isn’t any other franchise player in the league that you couldn’t trade Dwight for straight up.
3. Even if all of that fails and Howard leaves without a trace, Morey finally has that excuse to go into full-rebuilding mode. Start from scratch. Get a top 3 pick for two consecutive seasons and build around them. If stars don’t want to come to Houston, draft them. The Oklahoma City Thunder have done very well doing just that. I would rather lose and look forward to the top pick in the draft than to barely miss or barely make the playoffs.
Daryl Morey has never had this many assets. Cap room, an expiring contract, two first-round picks and an owner who isn’t afraid to spend are sitting snug in the GM’s holster. If this “wonderkid” can’t do anything with that, he’s not the right guy for the job.