After a wild day that saw speculation that Dwight Howard would waive his early termination option, reports have surfaced that multiple league executives believe that the Magic will now look to deal the center before tomorrow’s deadline.
The Rockets must now push all of their chips to the table. If Howard walks in the summer, leaving $28million on the table, so be it. But they must now swing for the fences. This is what they’ve accumulated these assets for in the first place.
The team can offer Orlando some combination including Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, Donatas Motiejunas, Sergio Llull, and the New York Knicks’ draft pick, while still leaving enough of their veteran core intact to make a run this season. If Howard left, they could finally rebuild and dislodge from mediocrity. This is a bold move the Rockets must now make.
Adrian Wojnarowski just reported that the Magic are working to trade Howard; while I’d imagine other teams are in the picture, the Nets and Rockets were the only two specifically named, both in this report and in others I’ve seen.
It looks like this may come down to a classic bidding war with the Nets able to offer Brooke Lopez, Marshoon Brooks, and draft picks, while the Rockets hold, as a reader put it in the comments, “the cornucopia of young talent” I mentioned above.
Three things that I think the Rockets have in their favor:
1. Potential spite: I could see the Magic taking a marginally lesser deal (caveat: only if its marginally lesser) just to not acquiesce into giftwrapping Howard to his preferred destination.
2. I could see the Magic not wanting to keep Howard within the conference and facilitating the creation of a star duo whom they would have to face for years.
3. I could see the Nets not wanting to put all their chips on the table, knowing they could also have a shot at Howard in the summer. The Rockets, on the other hand, would be more willing to go all in as they know this is their only shot – he wouldn’t pick them in outright free agency.
This is getting crazy.