Houston Rockets: With Howard, What Comes Next?

By Sarah Breuner

February 23, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale (left) talks to his team on the sidelines against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After landing such a star as Dwight Howard, how will the Houston Rockets work with and around their new center?

Houston has also signed former Cleveland Cavalier Omri Casspi, who will add some much needed depth at the forward position for the Rockets.  The Israeli signed a two-year contract for the veteran’s minimum of $2 million.  Houston will be tight on fitting within the salary cap between paying Howard and James Harden, so a filler like Casspi will fit the job well.

Chandler Parsons, James Harden, Francisco Garcia, and Howard will clearly play prominent roles for the 2013-2014 season. Parsons is said to have been very influential in bringing Howard to Texas, even texting the former Laker every day, according to CBSSports.com.  Besides these four players, there is a great deal still unknown for the Rockets. Garcia recently signed a two-year deal with Houston, which will help fill in holes around Howard.

Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks were waived from the roster last week.  Royce White was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for a future draft pick.  Houston has also agreed to trade forward Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers for two future second-round draft picks as well as rights to a Kostas Papanikolaou and Marko Todorovic.  While each of these players had a good run for the Rockets, these moves show that Houston is taking its plan to win titles in the very near future seriously and cracking down on less-productive members of its roster.

There has been a great deal of debate revolving around whether or not to keep Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin.  Both are positive assets on the court, but Asik has shown great disapproval towards playing with Howard, even demanding a trade.

Houston has been strongly considering Denver Nuggets Corey Brewer in addition to Atlanta Hawks’ forward Josh Smith.  Unfortunately the former Hawk has signed with the Detroit Pistons for four years and $56 million.

The Rockets are well on their way to filling in holes and working around their new center, but to win a championship, they will have to keep the core from last season and gain a Nugget or two.