With the Houston Rockets under .500 and out of the playoffs if the season ended today, general manager Daryl Morey has to do something to right the ship, and it seems the plan of action will include trading Dwight Howard.
According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, the Rockets have begun contacting teams about the eight-time all-star, who can become a free agent after the season.
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.
The Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, on possible destinations, league executives told The Vertical.
Howard is averaging 14.6 points per game on the season, his lowest mark since his rookie year, but remains a menace on the boards, ranking third in the NBA with 12 rebounds a game. At times, he has shown flashes of his old All-NBA self, such as when he scored 36 points and pulled down 26 boards against the Clippers on January 18.
Though Howard is clearly past his prime, he could certainly help a lot of teams, with the Boston Celtics among the rumored suitors.
And the Rockets, who probably have one eye toward next year already, might want to give more playing time to young big men Clint Capela and Donatas Motiejunas.
Howard has had an odd career. He’s been a tremendous, Hall-of-Fame-caliber player while simultaneously feeling like a bit of a disappointment at every stop. His time in Orlando ended sourly when he demanded a trade after months of public complaining, his stint in Los Angeles was a disaster from the start, and his spell in Houston looks like it will end without the Rockets getting past the Western Conference finals.
For a minute there, almost a decade ago, it looked like a team could win a championship with Howard as its best player. Now it’s pretty clear no one can win a title with him as even their second-best guy.