Since he is not happy playing with James Harden, there are rumors floating around that the Houston Rockets are trying to find an NBA team that is willing to trade for Dwight Howard. With quality centers still hard to come by in the league, the belief is that the move is likely to happen by the NBA trade deadline in February. A couple of teams have already been linked to a possible acquisition. More teams will start showing an interest as injuries pile up and late roster additions are needed by teams jockeying for the NBA Playoffs.
Thus far, the teams that have shown interest in acquiring Dwight Howard are the Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Washington Wizards.
The Miami Heat are trying to find a solution for the Hassan Whiteside situation. Their 7’0″ center has seen his stock rise tremendously over the past year. Whiteside is a legitimate defensive force and can find his way to the rim. Comparisons to Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan have sprung up. Hassan is a restricted free agent after the season, and the Heat are not going to be able to match the big contracts he will be offered. Miami would rather get something for him now instead of letting him walk away for free.
Since they have been underachieving this season, the New Orleans Pelicans are said to be in search of more star power. Dwight Howard is over 30 years of age now, but he is still one of the better big men in the NBA. The Houston Rockets are said to be interested in a stretch forward, and Ryan Anderson is said to be available. Howard doesn’t seem like a good fit with star forward Anthony Davis, though.
Out of all the teams rumored, the Washington Wizards are the most interesting one, according to ESPN Insider.
With guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Washington Wizards have one of the best back courts in the NBA. Wall is already a star player, and the sharp shooting Beal is on the verge of getting near that level. Adding a third star, especially one that can dominate the paint, might put the Wizards ahead of the other contenders in the Eastern Conference.
In regard to trade assets that might be of interest to the Houston Rockets, the Washington Wizards have a pair of quality big men to offer. Marcin Gortat and Nene could both start for most teams in the NBA. They could be an upgrade at the center position for a lot of franchises. If the Rockets are looking for a stretch forward to pair with the rising Clint Capella, then they can flip Gortat and Nene to a team in need of a starting center.
The craziest thing about the Washington Wizards and their salary cap situation is that the team will still have enough room to fit a maximum contract next season, even if they acquire Dwight Howard from the Houston Rockets and pay him an extension.
A free agent that will definitely command the maximum contract and has been linked to the Washington Wizards is none other than Kevin Durant. Many feel that he will not stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant has been linked to the Wizards for a couple of years now because he grew up in the Washington D.C. area.
On paper, a team with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, and Dwight Howard would be the odds on favorite in the Eastern Conference next season. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Atlanta Hawks would definitely have stiff competition on their journey to the NBA Championship.
[Featured Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]