NBA Trade Rumors: Toronto Raptors Decline Dwight Howard Offer From Houston Rockets

NBA trade rumors are stating that the Toronto Raptors recently rejected the Houston Rockets when they were contacted about trading for Dwight Howard, according to Hoops Rumors. The team currently sits on a 35-17 record and in the second spot in the Eastern Conference, and they don't feel that Howard can help them win an NBA Championship and has no place in their future plans.

The Houston Rockets like having Dwight Howard around. That's the reason why they were gauging his interest on a contract extension. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was hoping that Howard would be interested in taking a lesser contract so that he could pursue Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder star that is set to become the hottest free agent on the market after the NBA season ends.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant [Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]With the trade deadline coming up in about just over a week, Daryl Morey decided to sit down and have a discussion with James Harden and Dwight Howard, the two best players on the Houston Rockets roster. What came out of the meeting was that Harden and Howard have no personal animosity towards one another. The most important thing to come out of the meeting, though, was that Dwight would not fully commit to the Rockets.

With that in mind, Daryl Morey decided to call around the NBA to see if anyone would be interested in acquiring Dwight Howard. He felt that would have been a much better option than losing him for nothing when he walks away in free agency. Morey is one of the most active and ambitious general managers in the NBA, so it comes as no surprise that he would do his due diligence to make something happen.

James Harden
James Harden [Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]Daryl Morey knew that the Toronto Raptors were interested in making a move so that they can actually compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs. After all, the road to the NBA Finals will more than likely go through Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love. Despite how well they have been playing as of late, the Raptors know that it's going to be beyond difficult to beat the Cavaliers.

One of the reasons why Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri was comfortable with turning down the Dwight Howard trade is because he is pleased with the way that Jonas Valanciunas has been developing. Aside from being just 23-years-old, the Lithuanian is also seven-foot, 255-pounds. Valanciunas has been providing the Raptors with a solid 26.2 minutes a night, while scoring 12.3 points, and hauling down 9.4 rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas [Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]It also helps that Bismack Biyombo, who was the seventh overall NBA Draft pick in 2011, has finally developed into a solid player. The fourth-year veteran is providing the Toronto Raptors with some solid play at the center position. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is more than comfortable with having Biyombo and Jonas Valanciunas sharing the minutes without having to figure out how to work Dwight Howard into his system this late into the season.

Another reason why the Toronto Raptors rejected the Houston Rockets is because Masai Ujiri knows that he's going to have to dish out a huge contract to Dwight Howard when he enters free agency this summer. Since Howard is declining and over the age of 30 now, Ujiri was not very keen on doing that. Plus, the Raptors needs to keep their salary cap space preserved in the event that DeMar DeRozan decides to go home to southern California and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

[Featured Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]