As the trade deadline looms closer, the rumors surrounding big name players are heating up.
It’s hard to come up with legitimate reasons for the Rockets potentially trading Dwight Howard…
… other than the fact that the team has struggled playing together; sits near .500; and is virtually irrelevant in a Western Conference that’s been dominated by the NBA’s two best teams, the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.
The Rockets have struggled with team chemistry. Ty Lawson has struggled since joining the team, which has led to Patrick Beverley and Jason Terry getting considerably larger amounts of playing time. If you look at the Rockets’ roster, you’ll quickly come to the realization that this team should be much better than .500. With stars such as James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Lawson, the Rockets should be one of the best teams in the NBA. However, they’re not, so something has to change. It appears as though Dwight Howard may be the piece of the puzzle the Rockets’ front office believes should be moved.
Howard has been a good contributor for the Rockets this season, averaging 14.2 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. Even though those numbers are good, all of those statistics are lower than Howard’s career averages, which may hint that the thirty year old is on the decline.
There’s many teams that would be interested in acquiring Dwight Howard. The first team that comes to mind is the Chicago Bulls. Joakim Noah had expressed his recent feelings about leaving the Bulls organization, and this could be a great opportunity for the Bulls to include Noah in a deal that would land Dwight Howard in the Windy City. Would that be a good trade for both teams? Yes, although Houston would have to have a sense that Noah could be whole again after his recent shoulder injuries.
The Bulls are having some locker room troubles right now with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah having recently expressed varying levels of dissatisfaction, so a deal that would ship Noah to Houston would be a step in the right direction for Chicago. This would also make sense for Houston, as Noah will still bring defensive intensity to the table, but will add better big-to-big passing on the offensive end of the floor. Noah won’t take close to as many shots as Howard, and that could help the team’s offense run more smoothly.
There’s also potential in a deal that would ship Howard to New Orleans in exchange for Ryan Anderson and Omer Asik. The Pelicans have been trying to move Ryan Anderson, and Asik could be the extra piece thrown in to make this trade work. A Pelican frontcourt that features Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard would be unstoppable, and would immediately put the Pelicans into contention, but would this trade work for Houston? I believe so. Asik is a solid starting center, and Ryan Anderson is a fantastic shooting stretch forward who would effectively complement Trevor Ariza and Terrence Jones.
Will the Rockets move Dwight Howard? Who knows? I’m sure the Rockets are considering keeping Howard, but it may be difficult to due to the pressure on the front office in light of how poorly the team has played together. Anytime a team underachieves, there’s pressure for the organization to make some sort of change. If Houston does move Dwight Howard, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to either Chicago or New Orleans.