The Houston Rockets are determined to be a strong contender next season and this summer will be an interesting one for the team. Rumors are swirling that Dwight Howard may re-sign with the team and according to general manager Daryl Morey, they are ready for any situation that would play out in the couple of weeks leading to the free agency season.
Morey appeared with their Jason Terry, who also is going to be a free agent this summer, in SiriusXSM NBA Radio and explained that the Rockets have already in place a contingency plan if ever Howard would either re-sign or opt out using his player option to be available for free agency. He added that the Rockets are committed to building the team around its ace player James Harden.
“We are ready to go at a star level player, whether it be Dwight opting back in and he still got a lot of great basketball in him and if he chooses to come back we have already shown that combination [Howard and Harden] could win 56 and make the Western Conference Finals. But if he chooses to opt out and we could not bring him back through free agency, we are already ready to pursue that star level player we have in mind,” Morey said.
However, Morey did not mention who that star player they would try to pursue but rumors have it that the Rockets will go all out in an attempt to lure OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant to move with them with Harden obviously leading the courting process. He added that if Howard opts out it would give them the needed cap space to lure in that “star level” player who he describes could best play with Harden in and out of the court. Not mentioning that coach Mike D’Antoni’s charisma of players wanting to play in his system as well.
“We have the cap room and a player who play with James Harden and a solid roster around him in terms of guys who can defend and shoot, just great role players. Having coach Mike D’Antoni is an advantage having him around the league is seeing how popular he is with players and with players would want to play for him. Players who are seeking his style of ball play that makes them want to be on his roster,” Morey explained.
Howard has until June 30 to weigh his options, he could either come back and make amends with both D’Antoni and Harden or he could exercise his player option and decline the team’s offer and look elsewhere he could play and be happy with. Rumors are even swelling that Howard might sign with the Dallas Mavericks which Rick Mahorn stated could take a lot of pressure off Dirk Nowitzki.
Mahorn, who is now a radio broadcaster for the Detroit Pistons, stated that having Howard on the Mavericks’ roster could provide a deadly combination with Nowitzki as defenders would be worried about having Howard inside the paint and gambling on defense if they would double team Nowitzki who is also a deadly shooter from the outside.
“Having Dwight takes a lot of weight off Dirk because now you’ve got to worry about Dwight being inside, and you can’t go double-team Dirk. If gives you another facet. If you’ve got good shooters around Dwight it opens up the court, whereas all the concentration before was on Dirk. And while everybody is worried about Dirk, Dwight’s a well enough passer to get the ball out of double teams,’’ Mahorn said.
Howard is surely under a lot of pressure and the both the league and the fans are hoping that he would make the right decision that would make him happy and have him play comfortably. Whether it be with the Rockets or the Mavericks, at the end of the day Howard knows where he would play and be happy.
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