NBA Rumors: Al Horford to be part of the Houston Rockets roster next season

NBA Rumors: Al Horford to be part of the Houston Rockets roster next season

Rumors and speculations are now swirling around the Houston Rockets who are reportedly targeting Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford who will become an unrestricted free agent. The rumors started to fire up after the dispute between James Harden, the Rockets’ management and Dwight Howard continues to surround the team.

After the Houston Rockets’ disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors in round one of the Western Conference playoffs, they are now undergoing a rebuilding process and this includes a huge adjustment in their roster. Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff called the team ‘broken’ mainly focusing on James Harden and Dwight Howard, who were having a hard finding their chemistry.

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Dwight Howard wanted to be the main focus on the offensive end, opposite on what the Rockets management preferred for the team. According to a report from ESPN, Howard expressed his sentiments for the Rockets’ management, saying that he was not given the treatment he deserved.

“There were times I was disinterested because of situations that happened behind the scenes that really hurt me. It left me thinking, ‘This is not what I signed up for.'”

“I felt like my role was being reduced. I went to [Rockets general manager] Daryl [Morey] and said, ‘I want to be more involved.’ Daryl said, ‘No, we don’t want you to be.’ My response was, ‘Why not? Why am I here?’ It was shocking to me that it came from him instead of our coach. So I said to him, ‘No disrespect to what you do, but you’ve never played the game. I’ve been in this game a long time. I know what it takes to be effective.'”

With this, Dwight Howard is expected to opt out his $23.3 million player option in the 2016-17 NBA season and explore the free agency market to seek for a new team. On the other hand, the Houston Rockets are currently looking for a replacement for Howard through the upcoming free agency. Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks is topping the list of the Rockets’ free agency targets.

Al Horford can be a better replacement for Dwight Howard knowing how he performed in the offensive and defensive end. He can be a good tandem with James Harden since he does not demand the ball that much and mostly focus on team plays.

If Howard officially opts out his contract, the Rockets will be releasing a huge salary cap, enough to sign Al Horford for their team. However, the decision is still in Horford’s hands since the Atlanta Hawks are expected to re-sign him when he becomes a free agent. The Rockets should give Horford the best reason on why he should sign for their team.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

  • waky wake

    Les Alexander, Rockets front office other than morey, because he’s pixilated, trading one power center for another is not going to solve your problem. Granted Howard may not be the best center for your team, but he’s also not what’s scrambling your team’s focus and efforts. It is what, who it has been since 2012, James Harden. Again I ask, why do you think OKC was so keen on getting rid of him? They saw what I saw in the 2012 championship series and realized what I did. That James Harden can be stopped on offensive and will not consistently defend. OKC played it just right. They had no intention of giving Harden a max deal, or even a good deal, because they wanted to get rid of him and figured right, that some sucker GM like morey would pony up big time assets/draft picks to get him, if it looked like a simple matter of money offered and money demanded type of thing between them and Harden. Now no one, not even pundits that are superstar-o-philes can deny Harden’s obvious lack of defense and trickster offensive game. Never let it be said that I don’t acknowledge Harden’s impressive offensive successes, but they always come at the expense of his teammates/floor-mates. That type of ISO play will never win championships and signing Harden to a max deal, making him the focus of the Rockets offense, with total ball control means you have to move him to fix your problems. A personality like his will not willingly give up the keys to the car, you have to take them and that means either sending him down to the bench, or trading him for whatever assets you can recover. Now, I know you guys are not going to plant such an expensive player on the bench, so the correct answer is, you have to move him. So do it for crying out loud and move on!!! Don’t worry about how you will look, worry about how you will be, if you keep Harden around. There are no legitimate superstars around the league that want to play with Harden. If you do get one, it’ll be for the money and such an acquisition will turn out just like Howard, as long as Harden runs the show on the floor. Such a move could conceivably help Harden as well, cause if he’s no longer touted as a team’s franchise player, he can be used for what he’s really good at and that’s scoring a boat load of points, in a short period of time. That is Harden’s past, present and future value as an NBA player. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • t.hunt3r

      all of the rockets success over the last few years is because of they ride hardens individual greatness. he’s been to the playoffs most his years in the nba and was the chosen leader of that olympic team. kevin mchale would be considered a shitty coach if it wasnt for having harden. as soon as harden got injured and was out of shape for the start of the season, they played like trash. imagine how bad the rockets would be without harden. you are talking a 20 win season tops. if okc kept harden they would all have rings right now.

      • waky wake

        Not suggesting losing Harden’s scoring won’t hurt, cause it will. I’m also not saying that Houston has the correct combo of players to win, with or without Harden, they don’t. What I am saying is that with Harden in the Rockets driver seat, they will never get beyond the middle of the pack. And too, that misfit of roll players Houston now has is a direct result of morey trying to accommodate Harden’s ISO game, can’t you see that? Since he regularly takes better than fifty percent of the shots, they went and inserted a non-shooting, limited ball-handling defensive pit-bull of a PG, so Harden could have the ball most of the time, basically neutered Howard on the offensive end and finished themselves off by assembling a bunch filled with mediocre or well beyond their prime shooters for the other positions. You can’t expect such a crew to be able to make up harden’s offense when he’s out. But, his offense alone is not enough to win championships, especially when the elite teams have figured out how to limit and sometimes even eliminate his scoring. I’m talking about teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Blazers and Clippers in the west. Lebron and cavaliers, Wade and the Heat, even the improving Hornets in the east. He’s a trickster on offense guy and Wade and Lebron showed anybody paying attention how to slow him down and sometimes even stop him, in the 2012 finals. It goes like this. The primary defender maintains arms length separation against him, with hands up and out to the sides and position one’s self slightly to his left-your right, so if he takes off to drive, he’ll have to go to his right. If he pulls up/steps back to shoot a jumper?!?, move up and keep a hand in his face and live with the results. If he chooses to drive, sit on his left, forcing him to his right. Now here’s where the counter trick comes in. Once he commits to the drive, the primary must not engage, but release him to what should be a larger, secondary defender who has been preset to block his path to the basket. Doing that once or twice in the initial stages of a game, kills Harden’s offensive confidence, making it less likely he will continue those efforts. I watched Wade and Lebron do it over and over again, during the 2012 finals. In following seasons, I notice that the Spurs had picked it up and soon after, the Clippers and Blazers. Go back and review video of the 2012 finals, games he played against the Spurs in subsequent seasons, where he was pretty much neutralized, but not always and similar games against the clippers and Blazers. Okay, that’s it.

        • t.hunt3r

          In my mind he’s a better more mature player since that 2012 series. Now, even when they kno what he’s gonna do a lot of times they still cant stop him. harden needs a fast paced offense like he had his earlier years in houston. Thats where harden is really great. Thats how he became a superstar. His iso game is just a tool in his bag that is being over-utilized thanks to bad coaching. also having dwight in (and out) the mix really slows things down imo. People talked bad about curry before they fixed his team too. Curry hasnt really improved drastically since then he is just in a better fit that puts his strengths on display….harden has the opposite going for him right now the way i see it, and that is soley moreys fault. The style of play exposes his weaknesses and hides how dynamic he can actually be on offense. having d’antoni as new hc seems counter productive but its actually putting harden back in his comfort zone, and then some. could work