Miami Heat Trade Rumors: Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins Trades Possible For Heat?

Miami Heat trade rumors indicate pursuits of Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins. These Heat trade rumors underscore how the team is trying to improve in the low post and Howard or Cousins could certainly do that. A report from NBA analyst Chris Sheridan has started the rumors of a trade between the Heat and Houston Rockets. He states that Howard is "extremely unhappy" playing with the Rockets and that the team could move him later this season.

Not only did Sheridan report on these rumors, but he even made the bold prediction of stating that Dwight Howard will be with the Miami Heat before the end of February. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, another player is also on the radar for Miami. The team has inquired with the Sacramento Kings about acquiring All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. Though negotiations haven't advanced, getting the younger Cousins could make more sense than trading for Howard.

In both Miami Heat trade rumors, the team has to deal center Hassan Whiteside to make it work. Whiteside is having a good season for the Heat, averaging 27.6 minutes, 12.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks per game. He is set to become a free agent in the offseason, though, possibly making him an extremely expensive player to re-sign. It wouldn't be more expensive than what Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins currently make either.

DeMarcus Cousins With Sacramento Kings

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Howard is under contract for just over $22.3 million this season and has a player option at about $23.3 million for next year. With Miami and Houston way over the salary cap, any trade between the two teams would require nearly matching salaries. There are several players on the Heat roster that might need to be included in a deal for Howard, including Josh McRoberts ($5.5 million), Chris Anderson ($5 million), and Udonis Haslem ($2.9 million). Luol Deng and his $10.2 million salary might come up in discussions as well.

The Houston Rockets haven't met expectations this season and the team currently has a 12-13 record. It's good enough for seventh place in the Western Conference, but it is only two games ahead of 11th place. A bad week could drop the team out of playoff contention and the roster isn't playing well together. Dwight Howard is averaging 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He is shooting 60.1 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from the free throw line.

The numbers for Howard are very similar to what he has done for much of his career, but he isn't an important component of the offense in Houston. It's also not close to what DeMarcus Cousins has averaged this season. Cousins is putting up 25.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists a night for the Sacramento Kings. The main difference, in addition to their ages (30 for Howard, 25 for Cousins), is that Howard is easier to obtain than Cousins.

Hassan Whiteside Against Wolves
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Though many Miami Heat trade rumors include DeMarcus Cousins as a possible acquisition, the Sacramento Kings still haven't parted ways with the All-Star. He has been at the center of rumors for years, but the front office in Sacramento has kept the big man through all the turmoil the franchise has had. There is no indication that Cousins will get traded, even though the team continues to struggle in the standings. Howard, on the other hand, could be pried away from Houston a bit easier.

It seems pretty clear that Dwight Howard will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and enter free agency. He might decide to use his player option to stay in a new city, though, especially if he found postseason success in a new location. Would a trio of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Dwight Howard work? It certainly makes these Miami Heat trade rumors intriguing, because the team would have another "big three" to work with. Can Howard get them back to the NBA Finals?

[Photo by: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]