It seems that teams, and especially the Houston Rockets, are willing to move whoever they can in order to land Dwight Howard. The latest idea? Using Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in a sign & trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith.
According to Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ GM, Dwight Howard is asking, like stars often do, including James Harden has, to be included in someway when it comes to decision making about the roster, therefore the rumors about him requesting that another max-contract player be added to the roster. Mind you, a player getting close to $20 million a season doesn’t make him a superstar, only paid like one.
According to both USA Today and CBS, the Rockets are trying to comply with Howard’s request, while he mulls over his decision, possibly making up his mind by the end of the week, leaving Los Angeles to help himself get away from everything.
Smith is looking for a max contract the Hawks aren’t willing to give him. In any case, by adding Howard, the Rockets won’t be able to sign Josh Smith on such a contract, which will move them into the sign & trade realm, for which they have both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, who earn a combined $16.6 million next season.
The question is – are the Atlanta Hawks willing to participate in the sign & trade, which will give them a starting point guard (of which they have none at the moment, with Jeff Teague and Devin Harris both becoming free agents) and a center to pair with Al Horford in the frontcourt.
On paper, all this is doable, but the Rockets aren’t in the business of paying so much money to only three players, and becoming a consistent luxury tax payer – not being a team like the Knicks, Bulls or Lakers who can back up huge payrolls with local TV deals.
It makes more sense to assure Howard they’ll make moves, in time, to add another star (or at least expensive player) to the team, than throwing away so much money just to keep Howard pleased about having a high school friend, who is overrated if he does get paid maximum money, playing next to him.
The Rockets offer a solid core besides James Harden, which includes Asik, Parsons and Lin, although there’s a very good chance at least Asik gets moved once Howard signs to clear some cap space and avoid having an $8 million center backing up Howard, who shouldn’t be getting too many minutes of rest. Unless this is a must-have for Howard, which it is not according to Morey, sacrificing too much for a very good center but one that doesn’t automatically turn your team into a title contender is a bit too much to ask.
And still, Howard does have other options – Lakers, Mavs and possibly the Warriors if the Lakers agree to a sign & trade. Winning now comes at the better odds if he signs with the Rockets, but it all depends on how much of an ego Howard has, and if he truly expects a team to bow down to his every will, and feel insulted if they don’t.