After making a series of splashes over the 2012 offseason, any thoughts of the Houston Rockets flying under the radar this summer just flew out the window.
With one superstar already in place (James Harden), a star-gazing general manager still running the show (Daryl Morey) and cap space to burn ($39.3 million in salary commitments, via HoopsWorld.com), Houston was already expected to be a major player in the 2013 NBA free-agent market.
But now that superstar free-agent center Dwight Howard has reportedly taken an interest in H-Town (according to what league sources told CBSSports.com's Ken Berger), it may be a superstar-or-bust approach to the offseason.
Last season was all about finding the Rockets' launch pad. Morey's savvy acquisitions helped snap the franchise's three-year playoff drought, meaning the emphasis of next season has shifted to escaping the realm of mediocrity.
That's never a small task in the always loaded Western Conference. But it isn't an unattainable goal, either.
Morey has the financial flexibility to continue adding impactful talent onto one of the league's brightest collections of youthful, productive talent. And he has a team of sharp, analytically inclined minds to help him identify where those dollars will carry the most weight.
When he has these kind of tools to employ, a splash seems inevitable.
But will those moves be more substance than style; and what will that mean to the franchise's standing in the West?