According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, "While Howard had no interest in going to Houston last season, sources say he is aware the Rockets have become a more attractive destination since acquiring Harden."
Houston is apparently counting on Harden to help bring in a formidable free agent this summer, too, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, who writes:
The Rockets hope his play will just be the start of his contributions, to be followed by a role as a compelling draw for their next star...Asked if he had begun making his sales pitch, or at least laying the groundwork for next summer, he said he has chatted with "a couple guys."
No doubt, the man at the top of the list for Houston and Harden is none other than Howard.
Howard needs to take a step back and evaluate what the Lakers and Rockets have to offer. Besides L.A.'s glitz and glamour, Houston really has much more to offer Howard going forward—unless, of course, all he cares about is being in a big market.
But it's not like Houston is a small market, and this franchise is well on its way back up, while Los Angeles is clinging to life and seems to be being kept alive by Kobe Bryant's sheer willpower.
The Lakers' starters, minus Howard, have a combined 56 years of experience. And while experience certainly counts for something, it hasn't done the team much good this season. The Lakers are currently 3.5 games behind the No. 8 seed in the West, which is the Rockets.
The Rockets' entire roster has a combined 40 years of experience, including this season.
Even without a dynamo in the middle like Howard, Houston is scoring 106.1 points per game (No. 2 in the NBA). The team gives up 103.2 points per game (No. 29 in the NBA), but that number would decrease significantly with Howard clogging up the lanes and blocking shots.
Harden knows how to run the pick-and-roll and so does Jeremy Lin. Both players excel in an offense that is predicated on this simple, yet effective tactic, and so does Howard.
Howard isn't thriving with Mike D'Antoni's Lakers, and that isn't going to change. He needs a simpler approach to offense—one he'd get with Kevin McHale's Rockets.
Does Houston have a chance to land Howard, or is he already sold on the Lakers?
Howard needs to cast aside any thoughts he has about staying in L.A. Houston is where it's at, and his career will skyrocket with Harden and the Rockets.
Sponsors love winners, but there isn't a lot of winning going on in L.A.
Make the right choice, Howard. Sign on with an up-and-coming team, win some championships and watch your bank account grow.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78