Rockets trade rumors now indicate James Harden and Dwight Howard asked for trades. These Houston Rockets trade rumors are worse than each player simply trying to get dealt, though, as a report from CBS Sports underscores that the Harden and Howard were each trying to get the other guy traded. This information was also corroborated by NBA analyst Fran Blinebury in an article at NBA.com. What does it all the mean? It means the Houston Rockets’ roster is a dysfunctional group that might not be good enough to compete in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
The Rockets are right on the edge of missing the playoffs with a 27-28 record at the All-Star break. In the current standings, the Rockets are ninth place in the Western Conference with just 27 games left in the regular season. The good news is that the Rockets are only half a game behind the Utah Jazz (26-26) and Portland Trail Blazers (27-27) so catching up isn’t an impossibility. The question is whether the Rockets can get it together before they fall further out of the playoff race.
The burning question with most of the Houston Rockets trade rumors is whether the team wants Dwight Howard to be on the roster any longer. By simply making him available in trade negotiations, it seems the front office has made a statement about Howard, but still he has remained on the Rockets’ roster. The team has until 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 18 to make a deal, otherwise it will simply shift from trade rumors to offseason rumors about Howard likely opting out of his current contract.
Dwight Howard still holds a lot of control here, as he has one year left on his deal. During the 2016-17 NBA season, Howard is slated to make about $23.3 million for the Houston Rockets. That season is a player option for him, though, meaning he can decide to walk away from the deal and pursue free agency again. Other teams might be willing to give the Rockets better trade assets if Howard officially opted in to that additional year, but there has been no word from his agent about the former All-Star center considering it.
There are many other Houston Rockets trade rumors as the NBA trade deadline bears down on the team. Point guard Ty Lawson, swingman Trevor Ariza, and guard Jason Terry have all come up as well. The Rockets have been linked to teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and LA Clippers as playoff teams look for ways to improve. It still hasn’t resulted in any movement from the Rockets, but the team could also be waiting till the last moment to pull the trigger.
The front office in Houston may still be holding out hope that the current roster is good enough to make it deep into the 2016 NBA Playoffs. On paper it may have looked that way in the preseason, with three star players in Dwight Howard, James Harden, and Ty Lawson leading the team. The Rockets also have good role players in Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza, and Jason Terry, but is simply has not yielded enough wins in the first half of the season.
Nearly every NBA analyst speaking about the Houston Rockets is saying that the team needs to make a major move before simply losing Dwight Howard in free agency. These NBA trade rumors about Howard and James Harden seeking to have the other player traded complicates things even more, as it shows a clear lack of leadership on the current roster. As the clock really started to tick down on the NBA trade deadline, will the Houston Rockets finally make a deal to help the team in the long-term?
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