With all due respect to LeBron James, the biggest saga in terms of melodrama, lies, intrigue and what not has been Dwight Howard’s tumultuous season with the Orlando Magic. A season that might lead Howard to another home, maybe in Houston with the Rockets.
The Rockets missed the postseason once again in 2012, finishing 9th in the Western conference for a third straight season, with another above .500 year that didn’t take them anywhere. The Draft lottery wasn’t too kind as well, as the Rockets now hold the #14 and #16 draft picks. Not bad, but not something that usually creates an immediate impact and turns a team into a challenger.
Bringing in Dwight Howard, at any price, might. That’s why the Rockets are trying to use Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin as ways to upgrade their draft situation. The Sacramento Kings have the number 5 pick. The Toronto Raptors have the number 8 pick. The idea behind all the wheelin’ and dealin’, behind all the speculating, is that two top 10 picks will be able to lure the Orlando Magic into parting ways with their franchise center.
The Rockets have been flip flopping about Lowry for quite some time. He was considered untouchable until not too long ago, but a few things changed. One – Lowry’s injury allowed Goran Dragic to come off the bench and show everyone that he’s a legitamate NBA point guard, worthy of a starting spot due to his play on both ends of the floor. The Rockets do have plans on playing both players together, but Lowry isn’t fond of that idea. He isn’t fond of playing for Kevin McHale either.
Lowry, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists last season, has a contract that most teams would love to put their hands on. He’s owed $5.7 million for 2012-2013, $6.2 million for 2013-2014. Want better? Only $1 million of the salary for 2013-2014 is guaranteed. Hard to see a team refusing that and a first round draft pick.
But even if the Rockets do manage to make the trades they want, grabbing Howard isn’t that easy, or might not be worth it. Insiders close to Howard say he won’t stay in Houston beyond this season, and will go into the 2013 free agency market as a restricted FA. There’s also the fact that the Magic have completely revamped their managerial structure, and a new GM, only one week in the job, won’t be so quick to part ways with a player the Magic still believes holds the key to their future.