Dwight Howard Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation on Rockets Center

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Jan 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) reacts after a play during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Toyota Center. The Wizards won 123-122. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With the Houston Rockets hovering around .500, superstar center Dwight Howard's name continued to surface in trade rumors leading up to the deadline. However, the deadline passed without a deal getting done.

Continue for updates.

Stein: Rockets Had Opportunities to Move Howard

Thursday, Feb. 18

ESPN's Marc Stein provided details on the chances Houston had to move Howard and why it wasn't able to finalize a deal:

Sources said that the Rockets talked about potential Howard deals in recent days with a list of teams including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and, most recently, Milwaukee. Sources say Houston, however, told several teams that it wasn't prepared to trade Howard without receiving at least one frontline player and a future first-round draft pick in return.

Bucks Pursued Howard

Thursday, Feb. 18

Stein reported the Milwaukee Bucks made an offer to obtain Howard, "but talks broke down in part because Howard wouldn't opt into [the final year] of [his] contract."

Celtics Were Linked to Howard

Thursday, Feb. 18

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that, so far, the Boston Celtics are "sitting out" on the trade talks surrounding Howard. Earlier, Wojnarowski reported the Celtics were "showing unwillingness to pay premium prices" on rentals such as Howard.

On Feb. 12, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported the Celtics were "unlikely to acquire" Howard.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported on Feb. 3 that the Celtics inquired about the 30-year-old big man. However, Isola didn't envision a deal getting done because of the center's injury history and the fact that Howard can opt out of his contract during the offseason.

Rockets Contacted Cavaliers About Howard

Thursday, Feb. 18

Fox Sports' Sam Amico reported the "Rockets called to offer [Howard to the Cleveland Cavaliers]. Not happening."

Hornets' Offer for Howard Revealed

Thursday, Feb. 18

Stein reported on Tuesday that the Hornets and Rockets discussed a trade involving Howard but couldn't find a deal that would work. Isola, citing league sources, reported the "Rockets turned down Charlotte's offer of Al Jefferson [and] Spencer Hawes for [Howard]."

Stein added at the time that talks were "exploratory" and a source "expressed pessimism" that the two sides could reach an agreement. The Rockets are thought to be seeking "at least" one first-round draft pick for Howard, per Stein. 

Wojnarowski had reported on Tuesday that the Hornets have "shown no interest in cashing [in] assets for Dwight Howard," and while head coach Steve Clifford "loved coaching Howard in Orlando," a trade that would send him to the Hornets seems unlikely. 

Rockets Ramped Up Efforts to Trade Howard

Wednesday, Feb. 17

The Rockets have been "ultra-aggressive" in their pursuit of a Howard trade, according to Stein

Meanwhile, Howard told reporters he intends to finish the season with the Rockets. 

Rockets, Heat Reportedly Discussed Howard

Monday, Feb. 15

Adam Spolane of CBS Houston reported the Rockets, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks discussed a trade that would send Howard to the Hawks, Al Horford and Jeff Teague to Miami, while Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen would go to the Rockets.

Spolane added the deal was "not imminent," reporting the Hawks want the Heat to include Justise Winslow, but Miami won't do so.

Earlier, Isola first reported on talks between the Rockets and Heat.

Raptors Reportedly Contacted About Howard Trade

Thursday, Feb. 11

Zach Lowe of ESPN reported that the Rockets reached out to the Toronto Raptors about a potential Howard trade, but Toronto has "shown no interest."

Howard, Agent Comment on Trade Rumors

Thursday, Feb. 11

"I'm not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to [Howard]," the big man's agent, Dan Fegan, said, per Stein. "What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I."

"Dan's statement is true," Howard said, per Stein. "I have not asked the Rockets to trade me. Nor have I talked about right trades. I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I'm not running because we have been faced with some adversity."

Rockets Reportedly Reached Out to Teams About Howard Trade

Thursday, Feb. 11

Wojnarowski reported the Rockets "have started contacting teams about trading [Howard]," and they are "working with [Fegan] on possible destinations."

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported if the Rockets are looking to trade Howard, "it could be a clear signal that they expect [him] to walk as a free agent if they keep him."

Feigen also reported Howard discussed the remainder of the season with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff last night. Calvin Watkins of ESPN reported Howard "seemed pretty encouraged" by the conversation.

On Feb. 3, Watkins and Stein reported the Rockets plan to keep Howard and mentioned that the center does not wish to leave Houston, contradicting Mannix's report that the Rockets "have engaged teams about [Howard]," though "the asking price has been steep."

Howard Comments on Trade Rumors

Wednesday, Feb. 3

"I didn't say it, what can I do," Howard told reporters Wednesday. "There is nothing I can say, teams are going to say what they have to say. I don't know."

Howard No Stranger to Trade Rumors

This isn't the first time Howard has been the subject of trade rumors and speculation during the 2015-16 campaign, as Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com reported in December that Howard was unhappy in Houston and predicted an eventual trade to the Miami Heat.

Howard brushed off the talk, though, and he insisted he was focused on helping the Rockets return to the form that allowed them to reach the Western Conference Finals last season, per Watkins:

I haven't said nothing to nobody about anything. I've been positive, trying to turn this thing around any way possible. People always going to make up lies or rumors to get off. But I haven't said nothing or anything to anybody. That's never been a focus. (It's) to try to get these guys to play better, to make myself to play better.

The Rockets entered All-Star Weekend with a record of 27-28, and Howard's uneven play has been part of the problem.

He is averaging just 14.6 points per game, which stands as his worst offensive productivity since his rookie season in 2004-05. He is chipping in 12 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest, but frustration has clearly gotten the better of him at times.

That was on full display when he was suspended one game for swiping a referee's arm during a loss to the Washington Wizards on Jan. 30, according to Watkins.

The Rockets' current combination of players isn't working, and with Howard eligible to opt for free agency at the conclusion of the season, there is plenty of incentive for the organization to move him now rather than risk losing him for nothing.

Howard is an eight-time All-Star who can be one of the most dominant players in the NBA, as he proved many times during his eight-year tenure with the Orlando Magic.

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