Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard Trade Rumors Heat Up

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Feb 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) argues a call with official Brian Forte (45) while playing against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) argues a call with official Brian Forte (45) while playing against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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Dwight Howard trade rumors gain traction with reports from Yahoo

Rumors are one thing but following the second loss in 5 days to the Portland Trail Blazers the Houston Rockets are now actively shopping their affable center Dwight Howard.

Adrian Wojnarowski says multiple sources have indicated the Rockets are reaching out to gauge interest in teams trading for their All-Star center. It’s not that surprising given the Rockets inconsistent play this season but now the heat is on as the trade deadline looms on February 18th.

Surely the fact the Rockets performance versus the Blazers didn’t help, but when you factor in Houston has fallen completely out of the playoff seeding have added fuel to the flame.

Entering the week the Rockets were holding steady in the seventh seed as they had for the majority of the season but a 0-3 week and 5 losses in their past 7 games pushed them under both the Portland Trail Blazers, who’ve moved into seventh and the Utah Jazz who’ve moved into the eight seed.

Further the team is now under .500 highlighting the Rockets mediocre play.

Vertical Sources: Houston has started contacting teams about trading Dwight Howard. https://t.co/Bwp1MKTNq7

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 11, 2016

Howard who came to the Rockets following an uneasy stint in Los Angeles with the Lakers had signed a $88 million dollar deal to be with the Rockets through the 2016-17 season. The exception on that deal was the player opt out caveat which multiple sources had indicated he was intent on doing this summer.  Despite that information there was never any indication Howard was looking to move elsewhere, but with the Rockets struggle that choice appears to not necessarily be in the big man’s hands any longer.

Wojnarowski is now reporting there is uncertainty on both sides:

Howard, 30, plans to exercise an opt-out in his contract this summer to become an unrestricted free agent, and uncertainty surrounding the commitment both sides are willing to make has pushed Houston general manager Daryl Morey toward seeking potential trades on the market, league sources said.

Over the past month the consistent message out of Houston’s camp was they had no intention on trading their big man, rather they firmly stated he was essential to their playoff goals. Time and again the Rockets denied any rumblings regarding Howard including the recent whispers surrounding one of the teams who hold multiple options with draft picks and movable parts (the Boston Celtics).

The problem with trading Howard will come back to the uncertainty a team could trust he’ll resign with them this summer which will require a level of trust between the big man and his potential landing spot.  In addition, his injury issues may be a deterrent for clubs who might be able to look past potentially only having him as a summer rental, but may be antsy about his ongoing knee issues and the potential for his back problems to flare up.

At this point it will become a matter of Dwight Howard, his current team, his agent Dan Fegan and any potential suitor being able to address and discard any concerns to get a deal done.

As of today, the certainty Superman would remain in Houston that echoed for weeks appears to have shifted and now the Dwight Howard trade rumors will only gain more traction with just a week until the deadline.

Next: Countdown to Deadline, Potential Rockets Trades

Next: Join Space City Scoop Writing Team

With the trade deadline around the corner, make sure you visit Space City Scoop on a daily basis for our trade series. Each day, SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally, we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers, and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.

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