…a source with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said Monday that there was “not a chance” Howard would be persuaded to remain in Houston if traded there, and would leave next summer to sign elsewhere.
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford reported that the Rockets’ flurry of activity was part of a plan to amass the necessary assets to trade for Howard.
Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld.com believes that Howard is only half of Houston’s plan for the summer and that the team will also be trying to clear cap space in order to sign Deron Williams.
This run through the rumor mill does not show a lot of positive signs for Houston’s chances at landing either of these two stars.
However, Howard has solidified his status as the NBA’s biggest flip-flopper over the past two seasons and has conclusively proven that he can change his mind at any time.
Williams has not been as public with his intentions, but a chance to play alongside Howard and compete for a championship is a major draw for any player.
The key for the Rockets will be landing both players. If the team trades for Howard but fails to land Williams, then Aldridge’s report will undoubtedly be correct and Houston will have no chance to re-sign the center.
If they fail to trade for Howard, Williams probably will not even listen to offers from general manager Daryl Morey.
But if the dominoes all fall in the right direction, and if Morey can pair these two superstars with each other and compete for a championship, then he certainly has a chance to sign them to long-term deals.
Ultimately, the NBA is a superstar-driven league. There are eight to 10 players who make up the top tier of talent, and if a team does not have one of these guys, it is almost impossible to win a championship.
Morey is making the smart move by pursuing one or two of these players, even if the move involves mortgaging the team’s future for a player who could walk away after one season.