The option of Dwight Howard getting traded by the Houston Rockets before the deadline isn’t going off the table. It seems the Miami Heat remain in the picture, while the Charlotte Hornets are still looking for a way to make this happen.
Howard himself has said he doesn’t expect or want to be traded, but obviously, without a no-trade clause, it’s not up to him. According to his agent the Rockets are in discussions about moving him, not wanting to lose him to free agency and apparently not too keen on offering him a long term deal when he ops out of his current one this offseason. Howard would be giving up $23.2 million in 2016-2017 if he declines the final year of his contract.
The thing about the Howard trade is that it doesn’t make the Heat a whole lot better if they actually give up Hassan Whiteside for him, although that alone isn’t going to be enough. And for the Hornets, considering how they play basketball, it’s hard to believe Howard is going to be too much of a useful addition to them. Sure, he’ll improve their ability to protect the rim, but on offense, he’ll be frustrated very quickly for not seeing the ball, and it seems the Hornets have moved on from having a dominant player in the post idea.
Either way, it seems they’re still going after him, offering Al Jefferson, who has played only 19 games this season due to injuries and also a suspension, and also Spencer Hawes, who might be the kind of player Daryl Morey likes, although he hasn’t had a decent shooting season in two years, and is averaging 6 points on 39.9% shooting over the last season and a half, getting 19.1 minutes per game this season with the Hornets.
Howard himself seems to be someone losing value by the minute. He’s averaging 14.6 points per game this season, his lowest since his rookie year, while his per minute scoring numbers are at their lowest since his sophomore season in the NBA. His defensive impact just isn’t as great as it used to be during his best seasons for the Rockets or in his career, and it’s hard to forget that he’s not exactly a natural born leader or player who has incredible positive effect on team chemistry.
The Rockets seem to have given up on winning something with James Harden and Howard together on the team and they’ve made their choice, although maybe it would have been better to part ways with both of them. They might be trying to draw in more suitors and see if there’s actually an offer they can’t refuse for Howard because right now, while they do get something in return, the deals on the table don’t seem to be the kind making anyone better.