Now that the 2016 NBA trade deadline on February 18 is only three days away, the final rumors are starting to heat up regarding some of the top talents in the league. While Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, and Jeff Teague have dominated the rumor mills as of late, nothing official has come from the speculation. Teams are beginning to posture, and conflicting information has come out regarding the availability of each of the players in question.
With a record of 27-28, the Houston Rockets are not a good team this year. While the combination of Dwight Howard and James Harden has led to a lot of wins over the past few years, it appears as though their time together may be coming to an end. Currently sitting as the ninth seed in the tough Western Conference, the Rockets still have a chance to make the playoffs. Regardless, they have zero shot to actually make any noise in a conference that includes the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
While he is still a force to be reckoned with on glass and on the defensive end, Howard’s best days are behind him. Injuries and the fact that he will be 31-years-old in December means that Howard will never be the dominate force that he was as a member of the Orlando Magic. Regardless, Howard still has a lot to offer a competitive team.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) February 15, 2016
As reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN, Howard is looking to become a member of the Atlanta Hawks. When the Rockets were struggling last year, Howard and his agents were apparently looking for a way out. While nothing came of it, Broussard reports that they reached out to Atlanta.
“Even last year his representation talked to the Hawks about ‘Hey, it may be not working out in Houston… What do you guys think?’ He’s from Atlanta. He needs some love.”
Broussard then doubled down and said that Howard’s stance on the Hawks has not changed.
“I’m told he would like to get to Atlanta.”
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Howard may be looking to finish his career in a familiar environment after spending his career in Orlando, Los Angeles, and Houston. While the Hawks were one of the top teams in the NBA last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers beat them easily in the playoffs. After 55 games this year, they have a respectable record of 31-24. While this record is good for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, they are not the same regular season powerhouse that they were throughout the 2014-2015 season.
Depending on what they would have to give up, the Hawks could potentially improve themselves enough to at least give the Cavaliers a competitive series if they meet in the playoffs with Howard on the roster. While they could pull off a miracle upset and make it out of the Eastern Conference, they would have no shot against the Western Conference teams. In all honesty, it is going to be difficult for even the best teams to compete with the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, and that includes the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) February 15, 2016
While Howard would improve the Hawks, would the team actually want him? Howard has clashed with teammates over his career, and his tenure with the Rockets is no exception. According to Sheridan Hoops, Howard is not happy having to share the spotlight with James Harden.
“Dwight Howard is extremely unhappy in Houston playing second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden, multiple league sources tell Sheridan Hoops. And with the Rockets underachieving more than any NBA team, look for them to try to move Howard later this season.”
With the Houston Rockets not going anywhere this season and Dwight Howard unhappy, it makes sense for the team to try and get some return for him. While the Atlanta Hawks might be weary regarding Howard’s attitude, there is no denying that he would improve their team for at least the next few seasons.
NBA trade rumors will likely to continue to involve Dwight Howard over the next few days. Whether or not he is moved remains to be seen, but he is not going anywhere with the Rockets this year in the playoffs.
[Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]