The Rockets had clear interest in Howard coming into draft day, and with good reason. However, now they must rethink their offer if they are to get a deal done.
Trading Samuel Dalembert to the Milwaukee Bucks to acquire the 12th pick in the draft proved that the Rockets were going to find a new center. However, after failing to draft one, the team must do whatever it takes to land D-12 if they are going to make the playoffs this year.
The Rockets passed on a great center in North Carolina seven-footer Tyler Zeller twice, instead taking SG Jeremy Lamb out of UConn and PF Royce White from Iowa State. With their third and final first round pick, the team chose PF Terrence Jones of Kentucky.
The reason the Rockets just missed the playoffs this season was because the team lacked a high-caliber center. Dalembert and Marcus Camby did not cut it, and the Rockets finished ninth in the Western Conference for the third straight year.
With Dalembert gone and Camby set to become an unrestricted free agent, the team has few options remaining. After their pitiful draft class, the Rockets may be forced to trade all three players and someone else to land the Orlando Magic star.
The window is closing on the Rockets, as Sam Amico is reporting that the team has mere hours remaining to land Howard.
"Source close to situation says if Dwight Howard isn't dealt to Rockets today or tomorrow, Lakers fans may have reason to get excited. 'Rockets are exhausting resources. If it's not enough, (Lakers) will likely move in within the next few weeks.'"
If the Rockets have any hope of making the playoffs next season they can't do it by simply resigning Camby. They've put themselves into a position where they must use of all their resources to land Dwight.
Howard can carry this team, and with the supporting cast that was already in place last season, the Rockets could finish as high as fourth in the west, potentially winning just their second playoff series since 1997.
While the better option in my mind would have been to take Zeller and have a backup plan in case the deal falls through, the Rockets put all of their eggs into one basket.
Now, with their backs against the wall, Houston needs to find a way to bring D-12 to Texas.