With that said, some teams may be wary of trading a king's ransom in order to get the big man without the certainty of wrapping him up with a long-term contract. The Rockets shouldn't worry themselves about that for now.
The Rockets would have to trade an enormous portion of their team and probably some future draft picks to try and swing the trade and would probably need to take on some unfavorable contracts to make the deal work.
While that may sound terrible, especially if you don't know that Howard is going to stick around for more than a couple of months, it might be the best thing that could happen to the Rockets.
There are a lot of different trade possibilities, and it is hard to determine if the Magic would rather get talent or cap space in return if they do make the trade. In one trade that I created, the Rockets got Howard and Jameer Nelson, who has struggled this year and costs the team $8.6 million.
The Rockets would have to give up almost their entire starting five and then some. Kyle Lowry, Chandler Parsons, Luis Scola, and Samuel Dalembert would all go to Orlando, along with Marcus Morris and probably a draft pick or two.
Obviously, that is a ton to give up because at that point the Rockets starters would be Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee, Patrick Patterson and Dwight Howard. T
hat leaves the Rockets bench at Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger and little else. That is a pretty decent team, but if Howard leaves, there is an enormous void on this team.
Obviously, if the Rockets make the trade, their No. 1 priority is to try and retain Howard and make him the center piece of the franchise for the foreseeable future. If he does choose to go somewhere else, the Rockets immediately become one of the worst teams in the NBA. However, that may not be the worst thing in the world.
If the Rockets swing for the fences with Howard and strike out, they will almost certainly have two or three top five, or at least top 10 picks for Daryl Morey to play with and rebuild this team with young, inexpensive players.
While those few years may be extremely painful for fans to watch, it may be the quickest way for the team to return to a championship contender instead of sitting in the middle of the pack for an extended period of time.
The Rockets, as they are currently constructed, are a team that will flirt with the playoffs and either just miss (as they have for the last two years) or make it into the playoffs and more than likely be escorted out quickly by one of the powers in the west.
For my money, I want a chance to try to win it all and be a real contender, and if that means trading the whole team for Howard and either building around him or building around draft picks I will deal with that risk and the possible consequences.
Like they say "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger."