A day before the NBA All-Star break, word out of Houston is that Dwight Howard has been made available in a probable deal before the trade deadline on Feb 18.
Reliable NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports stated, naming league sources, that the Rockets have started opening conversations with other teams about the availability of Howard.
According to the same report, Howard is planning to opt-out of his current contract and is demanding a max deal, possibly the last lucrative contract in his NBA career.
The Rockets exploring trades for their big man makes it likely that they are not willing to give Howard that max deal he’ll demand when he hits free agency.
The Rockets are in a bind as Howard is earning $22.4 million this season and most teams would have difficulty matching that contract in any trade. Howard’s opt out option could also be problematic for a team acquiring Howard since they could lose him to free agency in the 2016 offseason.
Houston is currently out of the playoff picture entering the midseason showcase in Toronto with a 27-28 win-loss card, good for just ninth place in the Western Conference.
Houston may convince a team for an NBA trade involving Howard however and this includes squads that are in “win-now” mode or teams that still want to chase a playoff spot.
With Howard probably in the last year of his deal, teams may also acquire the Rockets center purely for financial purposes and let him walk in free agency after the season.
Here is a Dwight Howard trade, via ESPN’s Trade Machine, that can go down before the trade deadline:
Houston Rockets-Milwaukee Bucks Trade
Greg Monroe ($16.4M), OJ Mayo ($8M), Greives Vasquez ($6.6M) and Michael Carter-Williams ($2.4M) for Dwight Howard ($22.4) and Ty Lawson ($12.4M)
Why the Houston Rockets need this NBA rumor to happen: With this move, the Rockets can continue to be one of the playoff contenders out West by acquiring Monroe and Carter-Williams, who will immediately be part of the rotation. Mayo and Vasquez are fillers here but they might also crack the Rockets’ rotation too.
Why the Milwaukee Bucks would consider jumping at this NBA rumor: Simply, the Bucks just want to give up on both Monroe and Carter-Williams this early as Milwaukee has struggled in the first half of the regular season. A motivated Howard and Lawson can help Jason Kidd’s team back to playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
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