The NBA trade rumors surrounding Dwight Howard have headed up considerably in the last few hours, with reports that the Houston Rockets are now actively seeking trade for their big man and could be sending him to Cleveland in a blockbuster deal.
The rumors have been flip-flopping on Howard for several weeks, within initial reports that the Rockets were putting Howard on the block followed by other reports that they were planning to keep him and build a team around him. Those rumors claimed that the Rockets were trying to make themselves a better target for Kevin Durant.
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 12, 2016
Howard himself noted late last month that the team was coming together well, especially after Howard had recovered from some nagging injuries.
“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.”
But new reports from Yahoo! Sports claim that the Houston Rockets are once again entertaining offers for Dwight Howard.
Howard’s agent put off the rumors, ESPN reported.
“League executives told Yahoo! Sports that Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, and the Rockets are working together on potential destinations for Howard, an eight-time All-Star who turned 30 in December.
“However, Fegan, in a statement to ESPN on Thursday, said that wasn’t the case: ‘I’m not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard. What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I.'”
One of the NBA trade rumors points to a huge deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. CBS Sports reported that the Cavs could send Love, Tiomfey Mozgov, and Anderson Varejao for Howard and Corey Brewer. If true, the deal would work out well for both teams. The Cavaliers are looking to improve their place against powerhouses like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, which would mean improving their defense. Love has a fine shooting and passing touch, but has been vulnerable on defense, and Mozgov’s size leave the Cavaliers vulnerable to the kind of small, faster lineups that the Warriors employ.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 11, 2016
If the Rockets have plans to make a run at Durant, it could be a tall task. There are as many as a dozen teams that could conceivably go after him, and a handful that are already laying the groundwork to make a serious run. Durant is expected to opt out of his contract after this season, but Oklahoma City would be able to offer him the biggest deal. If he were to be swayed to leave, it would have to be a combination of a strong offer and a team ready for title contention. Whether the Rockets — who to this point have failed to play to the level of the Spurs or Warriors — would be a title contender with just the addition of Kevin Durant remains to be seen.
If the NBA trade rumors turn out to be true, the mega deal for Dwight Howard would need to come together soon. There is now less than a week until the NBA trade deadline.
[Picture by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]