Friends, rumors season is upon us. In European soccer, it's the transfer window. In the NHL, the wheeling and dealing has begun.
But let's take a break from Howard and focus on three other potential players moving this summer. While each player's fate could end up being caught up in the shockwaves from Howard's decision, for now two of these guys are safely tucked in the consolation prize bin, while another may simply be the next victim of his team's salary dump.
Could Josh Smith be brought to the Houston Rockets in a sign-and-trade to appeal to Dwight Howard?
According to Ken Berger of CBS, that's exactly what could happen:
League sources told CBSSports.com on Tuesday night that the Rockets acted quickly on Howard's desire to bring another star to Houston with him and have begun their pursuit of Smith, the Hawks' free-agent forward and Howard's former AAU teammate in Atlanta, in a sign-and-trade arrangement.
Howard, Smith and James Harden—it's not exactly Miami's Big Three, but it would certainly make the Rockets players in the Western Conference next season. And given Howard's proficiency down low, it could actually allow Smith to play his hybrid forward role to great success.
Smith is coming off of another solid statistical season, averaging 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 76 games. In Houston, he'd be the third offensive option behind Howard and Harden, but the trio could actually be very formidable playing together.
It could be the rare case where combining three big names would totally work from an on-court perspective. Stay tuned, this move seems pretty feasible.
Andre Iguodala figures to be one of the more popular players on the free-agent market this summer, with a handful of teams hoping to acquire his signature.
But one team said to have interest, the Sacramento Kings, have apparently pulled their offer, according to Sam Amick of USA Today:
The Sacramento Kings have pulled their offer to free agent small forward Andre Iguodala, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.
After making a four-year, $52 million bid, the Kings will now regroup and decide the next move in their rebuilding efforts. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation.
According to that report, the offer was pulled after Iguodala didn't respond quickly enough for the Kings' liking.
Of course, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports, he could always return to the Denver Nuggets, a team that really wants him back:
Denver wants to keep Iguodala as part of its core, but has shown restraint in formulating potentially salary-cap crippling offers to re-sign him to a long-term deal, sources said.
When the Kings demanded an answer for their offer on Tuesday night, Iguodala's desire to take more time to consider the deal signaled to Sacramento management that perhaps the free agent wasn't eager to leave a Western Conference contender for the rebuilding project.
Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and coach Brian Shaw presented Iguodala with a five-year contract offer and a pitch to convince him to re-sign at a meeting on Monday in Los Angeles. It is unclear if the Nuggets raised their initial offer on Tuesday night, but they clearly didn't match the Kings' surprisingly aggressive $14 million-per-season offer.
Iggy's in a pickle. On one hand, he can get better money outside of Denver, and this is the last major deal he'll ever earn in his career. On the other hand, he had a solid season for the Nuggets, a team that will be a playoff contender for the foreseeable future.
Just don't assume you know what he'll choose, because according to Mr. Iguodala on Twitter...
Incorrect on assumptions...— Andre Iguodala (@andre) July 3, 2013
...your assumptions are wrong.
Could the Detroit Pistons be making a play for Rudy Gay?
From Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
The Detroit Pistons were among the bidders for forward Rudy Gay when the Memphis Grizzlies made him available last season and they are once again going after him now that there's been a management changeover in Toronto.
The Pistons have offered the Raptors the expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva in an attempt to acquire Gay, league sources told ESPN.com.
However, it appears the Raptors aren't biting, according to Marc Stein of ESPN:
Nothing but resistance from Toronto so far on Pistons' pitch to swap expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey & Charlie Villanueva for Rudy Gay— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2013
If the Raptors are indeed looking to clear out salary space, perhaps in a tanking effort with an eye on next year's draft lottery, moving Gay would make sense on both fronts. The team already traded Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks, so moving Gay would hardly be a shocker.
With a decent amount of cap space to work with, the Pistons figure to be players this offseason, though without many elite options to chase, they may be better off waiting a season before splashing their cash. Still, landing Gay would signal the Pistons' intent to be players this offseason.