NBA Trade Rumors: Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin Would Make Rockets Contenders
Just when the Houston Rockets appeared to be on the verge of a nascent rebuilding process, there's at least a somewhat decent chance this club will be playoff bound relatively soon—and maybe more.
According to the ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford, the organization has been hard at work attempting to make its dream of adding a superstar into a reality:
The Houston Rockets have reconstructed their trade proposal to the Orlando Magic for superstar center Dwight Howard, vowing to take back even more long-term salary from the Magic in hopes of convincing Orlando to consent to trade Howard directly to Houston, according to sources briefed on the trade talks.
The decision to amnesty power forward Luis Scola was the most recent step in the process.
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By clearing additional cap space, the Rockets may now take on additional contracts in a deal with the Magic, potentially including those belonging to Jason Richardson, Glen Davis, Chris Duhon and/or Hedo Turkoglu.
Orlando is saddled with undesirable contracts, so moving Howard is a principal means by which the franchise can also improve its roster flexibility in the short-term. If you want Howard, you'll have to take some of his overpriced friends as well.
Houston had already done its job acquiring young talent to send Orlando's way.
Beyond a crop of previously drafted prospects like Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris, the Rockets landed Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White in the first round of June's draft.
Though it's not yet clear if Howard would be willing to rethink his stance on coming to Houston, the Rockets are poised to make a deal while retaining enough talent to remain dangerous.
That's especially true if Jeremy Lin joins the party.
The New York Knicks are reportedly unwilling to match the offer sheet Houston extended to Lin (per ESPN.com), a decision that would ensure the Rockets have a premium up-and-coming point guard to pair with Howard or perhaps even an as-yet-unknown Plan B.
If everything works out as planned, Houston could be lethally good in the West.
The team would still retain some of its young talent on the wing, perhaps one of the recent draftees, perhaps Chandler Parsons.
How good would the Houston Rockets be with D12 and Lin?
It would also be able to team Kevin Martin with whichever veterans Orlando opted to send over. While neither Jason Richardson nor Hedo Turkoglu are in their prime years, they remain solid contributors when integrated into the appropriate complementary roles.
Is there a risk the Rockets become the Western Conference's version of the Magic?
The roster couldn't afford to stand pat with Howard and Lin alone. There would unquestionably remain more work to do.
But, it probably wouldn't take long to do it. That kind of star combination would be a talent draw in its own right, and Houston could become a destination free agents and trade-block regulars put atop their lists.
Howard would give the Rockets an advantage in the West rivaled only by Andrew Bynum, assuming he remains with the Lakers. Lin would give them a dynamic floor general who can score and distribute a like.
Before too long, the two of them could give Houston something it hasn't seen since Hakeem Olajuwon: an NBA title.
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