The Boston Celtics have reportedly engaged talks with the Houston Rockets for All-Star center Dwight Howard, multiple sources confirmed on Wednesday.
The Celtics, armed with assets in the forms of draft picks and young players, are making their presence felt on the trading front roughly two weeks before February 18 trade deadline.
Frank Isola of New York Daily News first reported about the Celtics’ attempt to snag the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, while Chris Mannix of the Vertical Yahoo Sports confirmed that the two teams indeed had an exploratory talk about Howard’s availability on the market.
“The Rockets have indeed engaged in trade talks with teams regarding Howard, but the asking price is reportedly very steep and Houston is not merely looking to dump him, Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports,” according to Hoops Rumors.
The 30-year old Howard averages at least 14 points and 11 rebounds in his third season with the Rockets, but continues to struggle with injuries the past two seasons.
Isola pointed out that the Celtics would have to give up a lot of the assets they collected through trades the past three seasons in order to land Howard, who will even have the option to become a free-agent this summer.
Via the Daily News:
“Meanwhile, the Celtics have engaged the Houston Rockets in talks about a possible deal for Dwight Howard, the Daily News has learned. Howard can opt out of his contract this summer, and considering his back and knee issues, it doesn’t make much sense for Boston GM Danny Ainge to use the assets on a player with declining skills and a battered body.”
The Celtics are also mentioned as one of the suitors for Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, as they look for a legit shot blocker to anchor their defense.
Trading for Howard would be complicated and unreasonable for the resurging Celtics, as both Isola and Mannix agreed. If they are really eager to get a shot blocker at trade deadline, Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler might be an ideal option at a much lower price.
Chandler is averaging career lows in points (5.5 ppg) and rebounds (8.3 rpg) this season, but there’s an argument that his play is affected by all the hoopla going on within the Suns organization.
However, the former Defensive Player of the Year can still play at a high level. He proved this when he grabbed a franchise-setting 27 rebounds against the Atlanta Hawks last month.
The Suns signed Chandler to a four-year, $52 million deal last season, but that won’t exempt him from being traded, especially now with the Suns apparently looking to blow up their core following the firing of Jeff Hornacek as head coach.
Photo Courtesy: USA Basketball