Houston Rockets: Must Look To Shift Roster If They Plan To Land Dwight Howard


Mar 28, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) runs into Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) during the first quarter at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After Day 1 of the free agency and their first meeting with Dwight Howard, it looks like the Houston Rockets will need to reshape its roster should they ultimately sign the free agent center.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the 2 hour meeting with Howard was mostly about the team and how he would fit in.

“According to a person with knowledge of the conversations, “about 90 percent” of Howard’s questions were about the team, its potential and how he would fit.

The Rockets have hoped that Howard would base his free agency decision on which team would give him the best chance to win championships, a criteria they believe would make them “the obvious choice,” according to a person familiar with the presentation.”

It was also reported that Howard asked the Rockets how they would be able to bring in a third max-contract player.

That third max-contract player could be Josh Smith, who the Rockets also met with.  Smith is the Rockets no.2 free agent option, and should they land Howard, would be able to acquire Smith via a sign and trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

According to Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld, the Rockets indeed are a potential destination for Smith that the Hawks would agree to sign and trade him to.

A potential sign-and-trade for Josh Smith, a childhood friend of Howard’s, was not brought up in the Rockets’ meeting with him last night.

— Yannis Koutroupis (@YannisHW) July 1, 2013

As he mentions later on his Twitter profile, Koutroupis notes that avoiding talk of a specific player as a part of the plan in Houston is a smart one—the Rockets are trying to sell Howard on the promise of success now and more moves to make the team better later, which could involve Smith.

That’s not to say the Rockets aren’t trying to get Smith, but it wasn’t a part of their pitch to Howard.

— Yannis Koutroupis (@YannisHW) July 1, 2013

Rockets being smart here. Don’t want to mention Smith then not be able to get him. Better to sell him on what you have while pursuing Smith.

— Yannis Koutroupis (@YannisHW) July 1, 2013

But if the Rockets have any chance for this to happen, they will need to trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, who reportedly were put on the trade block Monday.

This puts the Rockets at a crossroads.  Feigen reported that the majority of the time spent talking to Howard was how he would fit in with the team already in place, including Asik and Lin.

“Much of the conversation on Sunday was about how Howard would fit with the current Rockets, with the Rockets citing how he generally plays best with attacking guards, making him a good fit with Jeremy Lin, the advantage of having another quality center on the roster in Omer Asik and the continued growth of forward Chandler Parsons.”

But now it could look like Howard’s vision could be different from Daryl Morey’s last offseason when he went out and gave backloaded deals to Asik and Lin to steal them away from their former teams.  Now it looks like Morey is left to look for the best possible deals for the two, something that could take a while to process.