NBA Trade Rumors: Houston Rockets' New Plan to Get Dwight Howard an Unwise Risk

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJuly 13, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2012 in New York City. 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 Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are making a bold move to get Orlando Magic big man Dwight Howard, but the team is taking an unnecessary amount of risk. 

Marc Stein and Chad Ford reported that the team’s plans to cut power forward Luis Scola are part of a strategy to clear cap space and put together a package to land the All-NBA center.

Stein and Ford note that the Rockets would give the Magic cap relief, young players and draft picks in exchange for Howard. The article provides all the details of the complicated deal:

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is feverishly trying to construct a trade that will allow the Rockets to take back, in addition to Howard, some combination of Richardson, Davis, Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu. 

Sources say the Rockets would have to send Kevin Martin, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris and Chandler Parsons to the Magic from their current roster to make the salary-cap math work, as well the draft rights to Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones, all selected in last month's first round.

But Houston, sources say, is also offering multiple first-round picks to the Magic, including a potential lottery pick acquired this week from Toronto in the Kyle Lowry deal.

The Rockets are essentially swapping rosters with Orlando. If this deal goes down, almost no one who was in Houston last season will still be there. 

Houston had 13 players appear in 25 or more games this past season. Of those players, Lowry was traded, Scola will be cut, Goran Dragic signed with the Phoenix Suns, Courtney Lee had his qualifying offer withdrawn, Jonny Flynn was traded for Marcus Camby midseason, Camby was traded to the New York Knicks, Samuel Dalembert and Chase Budinger were traded for draft picks, Jordan Hill was traded to the Lakers midseason, Terrence Williams was waived in March and the other players would be sent to Orlando if this deal goes down.

Is your head spinning yet? Daryl Morey’s must be.

The team’s building blocks would be Howard, who is coming off back surgery and refuses to commit to a long-term deal, and three players whom the Magic have been desperately trying to cut loose.

The team has made offers to Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, as noted in Stein and Ford’s article, both of whom are unrestricted free agents. But even if they land one or both of these players, they still will not have a championship-caliber roster.

Howard is an incredible player. When healthy, he is the most dominant force in basketball besides LeBron James.

His skill set allows him to dominate the paint like no other player in the NBA. He is the best center in the league, and no other player is even close.

However, he will be the only elite player on the Houston roster and will almost certainly bolt after just one season. 

Houston would be bringing Howard into the exact same situation he is currently in with Orlando. The center will be in a city he does not like with a team that cannot win a championship. 

Morey must feel sorry for the headache Magic general manager Rob Hennigan has to deal with over this summer. Yet he would simply be recreating the situation for himself by pulling off this deal. 

Once Howard is in Houston, there may be a slight chance that he is convinced to stay long-term, but these drastic moves are not even close to being worth that risk.