NBA Trade Rumors: Rockets Must Use Productive Draft to Land Dwight Howard

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 29, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks to the bench after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets failed in their attempt on draft night to move up and put together a productive enough package to acquire Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard.

But the draft is only one step as the Rockets had a very productive draft, landing Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones, who could all be starters in the NBA

But because they not only failed to acquire Howard or move up high enough to even draft a guy like Andre Drummond, the Rockets now must use the young talent they have to make a more aggressive push to acquire Howard.

After dealing Samuel Dalembert to the Milwaukee Bucks before the draft, the Rockets—despite adding a ton of talent—have a huge hole in the middle right now.

The crop of unrestricted free-agent centers is a very thin one and instead of reaching and overpaying for a Spencer Hawes or Chris Kaman type of player, the Rockets need to make a serious push to acquire the best big man in the game today.

They have the assets and new Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan is one who wants to build through the draft. Houston can give him that opportunity.

Hennigan added a couple of nice pieces in Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn and the Rockets can offer Orlando the chance to stockpile the organization with young talent.

Rumors before the draft said that the Rockets were dangling point guard Kyle Lowry in an attempt to move up a few spots. With the Magic desperately in need of a point guard for the future, Lowry should at least peak his interest.

Throw in Lamb and one of White or Jones plus a couple of future picks and that would look like a real good haul in exchange for Howard and possible the contract of Hedo Turkoglu.

If Hennigan decides to hold onto Howard until the trade deadline, it's doubtful he would get a similar offer that can help reload the Magic franchise. The Rockets could make that easy for him.

To compete, the Rockets need a presence in the paint and Howard should be the logical option right now.

Of course signing Howard to an extension is another story altogether, but if Houston is willing to take that risk, then it should be a no-brainer to go after Howard even more aggressively now.