With the recent move by the Houston Rockets to amnesty Power Forward Luis Scola, it seems obvious that the Rockets are doing whatever they can to get Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard. Combine that and the fact that the Brooklyn Nets resigned Brook Lopez to a 4 year max contract worth $61 million (which I’ll talk about later on), it looks like the Rockets are the current front runner in the Dwight Howard trade sweepstakes. The reason they waived Scola was to not only get Howard to possible sign a max deal with the team, but also to absorb other big Magic contracts, including Glen Davis, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu. It would basically allow the Magic to start over with all the cap room in the world. Quite a tempting offer. But Houston also had to get rid of Scola because it looks like they will be getting Jeremy Lin after all. On July 14th, the New York Knicks acquired former Knick guard Raymond Felton in a sign and trade deal with the Portland Trailblazers. That would give the Knicks a three guard rotation with Felton, Pablo Prigioni, and newly signed Jason Kidd. Now Kidd just got busted with a DWI, so the Knicks could be looking at matching Houston’s offer for Lin after all. Not only have the Rockets offered Lin a 3 year $25 million deal, but they’ve also offered Chicago Bulls Restricted free agent Omer Asik a 3 year $25 million. The Bulls are also wavering on the decision to match Houston’s offer, but if the Knicks and Bulls don’t, that’s $50 million the Rockets are willing to spend on two unproven players. Jeremy Lin had one to the greatest 10 game stretches of all time, but he got exposed for his poor defense and then hurt his knee before the playoffs. At least I believe Lin is capable of matching that deal with his play. Asik on the other hand. It seemed like this was a play made by the Rockets to get the Bulls to use up some of their cap space and it looks like it may back fire. Asik may be 7 feet tall, but he only averaged a little less than 15 minutes a game for a whopping 3.1 points per game.
Now the Rockets are going through all this trouble to get Howard, but is he really worth it. Howard has made it pretty clear that he only has one destination in mind to play next season and that’s with Brooklyn and although the Nets can’t currently trade Lopez due to NBA rules stating that he can’t be traded until January 15th of next year, they could still offer him up before the trade deadline. Why would the Houston go after a guy that currently has no interest in signing a long term deal? They are willing to blow up their whole team and face a possible future of being the worst team in the NBA for just the opportunity to get Howard to stay.
If I were Dwight Howard, why would I want to go to the Houston Rockets? One would think that Kevin Martin, the Rockets’ best player would be part of that trade to the Magic. So who would Dwight have around him? If the Rockets get all those Magic players that I mentioned earlier, then that definitely won’t work. All the key free agents are now gone. They are in the West, a much tougher conference than the East. Even if Jeremy Lin plays up to his new contract and shows flares of what he did last year with the Knicks, the duo of Lin and Howard still isn’t good enough to match teams like the Heat, Thunder, and the improved Lakers and Nets. I just don’t see how this is going to work out in Houston’s favor. It’s all but a guarantee that Howard will not sign a long term deal with the Rockets, but they’ve already gutted their lineup to the point that Houston has to get Howard and to do whatever they can to convince him to stay. It seems like which ever direction the Rockets take, it’s a dead end.
One last note, one of the reasons why the NBA lockout happened was because owners were over spending on under performing players. Well it looked like nothing changed because the contracts owners have been dishing out are ridiculous. I completely understand why the Nets gave Deron Williams a max contract, but Brook Lopez getting a max contract? That’s a joke. Man I wish I was 7 feet tall. Then I would be getting max contracts and $25 million (Asik) for doing nothing last season. Lopez broke his foot last year and only played five games. FIVE GAMES and he gets a max contract. His season best in points is 20.4, but we all know he’s not matching that number with Williams and Joe Johnson on the floor. For a seven foot player, he sure sucks at rebounding, only averaging 7.5 rebounds a game for his career. That’s worth a max contract? What a joke. This may have ruined the Nets chances of getting Dwight Howard. He better put up numbers by January 15th, because if I were the Magic, I rather lose Howard and get nothing back in return than get Lopez and his max contract.