NBA Trade Rumors: Dwight Howard Could Be Headed Out Of Houston, Celtics And Bulls Emerge As Possible Destinations

Nathan Francis

The NBA trade rumors are heating up as the deadline nears, and reports indicate that Dwight Howard could be on the move as the Houston Rockets continue their in-season rebuilding.

The Rockets are hovering around.500, but in a Western Conference dominated by the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, they don't really factor into contention this season. The team has already fired coach Kevin McHale this season and is plagued by sloppy, inconsistent play.

Some believe this makes it the perfect time to trade Dwight Howard and build some young pieces or draft picks that could be used for a rebuilding.

The NBA trade rumors regarding Dwight Howard could have some drawbacks. There is no solid indication that the Houston Rockets want to trade him, and getting rid of Howard and his 19.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game would be a huge blow to the team. This is especially true given Howard's prowess on defense, which is the biggest weakness for Houston.

One of the most popular destinations for Dwight Howard is the Chicago Bulls, where center Joakim Noah is unhappy with his role and reportedly looking for a way out. There have been several NBA trade rumors connecting Howard to the Bulls.

— james harden fans (@whos_Harden) January 8, 2016

The report speculated that Dwight Howard could give the Pelicans a strong defensive presence and also give Omer Asik a chance to get out from the shadow of Anthony Davis.

"This would be an extremely interesting deal for both sides. With a 13-26 record, the New Orleans Pelicans are nearly as close to having the worst record in the Western Conference (five games) as they are to the eighth playoff seed (four games). With everyone except Anthony Davis being 100 percent expendable, the Pellies would be better off tanking for a top draft pick to pair with the Brow."

As the NBA trade rumors swirl, there is still another option. The Rockets could still hold on to Howard, aiming for a playoff spot and a chance to continue building around Howard for the future.

The Rockets have won five of their last six with a chance to extend their winnings with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Howard himself noted that he feels in a better rhythm now.

"Earlier in the season, missing most of the preseason, not being able to get in a rhythm, not being able to practice (is) very tough to go out there in the game and perform," Howard said (via ESPN). "As of late -- the last couple of weeks, last month -- I've been able to get a couple of good practices in, really get good individual work in, and its paying off."

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2016

Whatever happens, the NBA trade rumors will be playing out very soon. The trade deadline for this season is February 19.

[Picture by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]