According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the talented center is very unlikely to be traded during the season. However, he does report that Houston might have the best chance of signing the free agent this summer:
Of the Lakers' three free-agent competitors, Houston appears to be the most favorable for Howard. Dallas is aging, and Howard is not keen on playing in his hometown of Atlanta. Houston, on the other hand, has star guard James Harden and is only a frontcourt star away from becoming a legitimate factor in the Western Conference.
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.
Apparently, James Harden will even try to recruit players like Howard during All-Star weekend, although he notes that "he has no relationship with Howard," according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
While the All-NBA player is certain to put up big numbers wherever he goes, Houston should look in other directions to improve this offseason.
The Rockets have been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season. They have gotten out to a great start and would be in the playoffs if they started today.
This is a fast-paced team full of young players—all five starters are 26 years old or younger—and they are the second highest scoring team in the NBA. With Harden scoring at an incredible rate and Jeremy Lin racking up assists, it is an offense that does not need to be tinkered with.
On defense, the squad could use some help, but things are not much worse than they are in Los Angeles. With Howard, the former Defensive Player of the Year, the Lakers have allowed opponents to make .452 percent of shots from the floor. Houston sits at .457 in that category.
Instead, the Rockets' main defensive issue is guarding the perimeter. This is something that Howard will not affect too much, even considering the backup that he will provide guards.
Additionally, Omer Asik has shown that he can rebound as well as Howard from the center position.
Of course, the biggest reason to avoid Howard might be his attitude. The Lakers' season has been filled with drama since the beginning and it has featured various feuds throughout the year.
Most recently, Kobe Bryant was upset that Howard was not willing to play through pain in an important game, according to Bernie Augustine of the New York Daily News.
In an interview on ESPNLA Radio, former Laker Rick Fox said that the center had a "loser mentality."
It is starting to seem like Howard does not have the mindset that it takes to win an NBA title.
Los Angeles had a .621 winning percentage last season with Andrew Bynum at center, but the squad has struggled to a .462 percentage this season. Although Howard should not take all of the blame, he is certainly responsible for some of it.
This is not someone that the Rockets should bring into a young team with great chemistry together. He could end up being a clubhouse cancer that takes down everyone else in the locker room.
Right now, Houston is one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. There is certainly an opportunity to improve this offseason, but it seems like Howard would be the wrong choice.
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