Houston Rockets: Thomas Robinson Traded To The Portland Trail Blazers, Ready To Pursue Dwight Howard

By Michael Ma

Apr 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Thomas Robinson (41) attempts a free throw during the third quarter against the Orlando Magic at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets have agreed in principle to send forward Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers for two second round draft picks, and the rights to Kostas Papanikolau and Marko Todorovic.  The deal has not been officially announced, but the two sides have verbally agreed to the trade.

General Manager Daryl Morey has looked to trade Robinson weeks before the NBA Draft in an effort to clear more cap space to offer free agent Dwight Howard a max-contract.  Robinson was the no. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft and was acquired by the Rockets from the Sacramento Kings in February.  He still has a high ceiling, but wasn’t going to get the opportunity to develop in Houston, behind power forwards Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, and Donatas Motiejunas.

The Rockets also officially declined the options of Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks, which now opens the bank to offer Howard a max deal around 4-years, $90 million.

Rockets Meet With Howard

Apr 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) reacts during the game against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 99-95 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets met with Howard a little after 12:01 AM EST Monday morning in Los Angeles.  The Rockets contingent of James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Daryl Morey, and Kevin McHale were joined by former Rockets and Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.  Dikembe Mutombo also taped a video message for Howard, and Yao Ming spoke with the free agent center via skype.

Yao will be in Houston on July 11 and hopes to meet with Howard.

Was gr8 meeting with @DwightHoward. Hakeem & Clyde there made it obvious how @DwightHoward & @JHarden13 could be the next gr8 big/wing combo

— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 1, 2013