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Why Dwight Howard to Houston makes so much sense

Dwight Howard can trade in his Laker attire and make this scene a reality next month When it comes to star pursuits, Rockets fans have grown accustomed to disappointment the past several years.



Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets

Dwight Howard can trade in his Laker attire and make this scene a reality next month

When it comes to star pursuits, Rockets fans have grown accustomed to disappointment the past several years.

There was the Chris Bosh IPad delivery, the bronze medal finish for Carmelo Anthony, Dwightmares I and II and the Chris Paul trade… without getting Chris Paul. And let’s just agree not to talk about Nene, which would be like trying to justify the fashion sense you showed in 6th grade.

But James Harden changed everything. The Rockets are no longer the pimple-faced dweeb desperately asking any mildly popular female out for a date — they now are the hot chick. They can afford to be picky.

‘You need a star to get a star’ and nothing illustrates this better than seeing how the attitude of one Dwight Howard has changed about Houston in less than a year. Last June, David Aldridge reported that there was “not a chance” Dwight would re-sign with Houston if traded here. Today, numerous reports suggest the Laker free agent is strongly considering coming here of his own free will.

And justifiably so. This could be a very good marriage as it looks like a perfect fit for both the Rockets and the 27-year old center.

Why it makes perfect sense for the Rockets

  • Defense wins championships. This can’t be stressed enough. The NBA’s “Final Four” this year were ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 9th in defensive ranking. Oklahoma City, which probably would have been there without a key injury, was ranked 4th. We can talk stretch fours and three-point efficiency all day, but if the Rockets are to make a true leap forward, they have to do it defensively. There’s no better defensive anchor than Dwight Howard.

  • Instant Contenders. Forget all this “youngest team in the league” talk. If the Rockets sign Dwight Howard, they catapult from young upstarts to expected contender, being discussed with the likes of Miami, Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

  • Asik flexibility. The Rockets were pretty good defensively in the halfcourt when Omer Asik was in the game. When he was out, they dropped like a rock. Howard and Asik would assure the Rockets of 48 minutes of top-flight paint patrol, OR, if they can fill the backup center spot in other ways and instead eye an improvement at the four, they now have a prized trade asset in Asik. Simple example to illustrate it: Omer Asik for Kevin Garnett — who says no? I doubt KG or the Celtics would.

  • The pick-and-roll. The Rockets have a pick-and roll lead ace in Harden and another pretty good one in Jeremy Lin. Howard was one of the best pick-and-roll finishers in the league last year, and the best in 2011-12, his final year in Orlando. Howard sets strong screens, has good hands and goes hard to the basket. He can finish in traffic or on the lob. A Harden-Howard pick-and-roll would be lethal — you’ll see a lot of buckets and trips to the line between those two.

  • A dagger in the heart. Howard signing with Houston would do serious damage to two key rivals — the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. It would be a lost 2013-14 season in Los Angeles, and their future draft pick situation is a mess from past trades for Steve Nash and Howard. Their hopes would hang on a LeBron James signing in 2014 or an Andrew Wiggins miracle, and the same might be said about the Mavs, who had kept the Rockets a distant third in the Texas Triangle for years. They were the Texas team that had the most interest from free agents. Not anymore.

  • Poetic justice. With the Rockets’ run as a title hopeful ending with Yao Ming’s injury in 2009, the Lakers picked up Houston free agent Ron Artest and won a championship the following year. Now the roles have reversed. Kobe Bryant’s injury (and age) puts Los Angeles in limbo and the Rockets are on the upswing to contention.

Why it makes perfect sense for Dwight Howard

  • Winning. It’s that simple. The Rockets provide the best chance at the ring, this season and beyond. They have a not-yet 24 year old guard who scores and passes like a star, a blossoming wing player in Chandler Parsons and a general manager in Daryl Morey who has proven to be masterful at filling the roster with capable role players. The Lakers have a 35-year old grumpy star trying to recover from a serious Achilles tear (and, oh by the way, he doesn’t like you) and a point guard old enough to have played with George Mikan. Not a tough call from a winning standpoint.

  • Money. While the parroted line is that the Lakers can offer “$30 million more” to Howard than any other team, that’s primarily because they are the only team that can offer a fifth year on the contract, a year that Howard would likely opt out of to become a free agent. Tony Nitti of Forbes did a terrific job breaking down how state taxes in California make it so the Rockets’ offer is actually more lucrative for Howard than the Lakers’ package over the first four years. After weighing in state taxes, the Lakers deal is worth around $79 million over the first four years compared to $86 million from the Rockets. Throw in the fact that the Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners expires in 2017 and Howard may want to opt out after three years, signing a new deal before the new CBA comes into play. When you consider that Howard will likely want to cash in on one more major deal while in his prime (in three or four years), it’s Houston — not Los Angeles — that offers the better deal.

  • Coach McHale. You want a coach who knows and understands the role of the big man? That’s Kevin McHale. McHale, a 6-foot-10 power forward, was a 7-time All-Star and 3-time NBA Champion. In Houston under McHale, the strengths of Howard’s game won’t be ignored.

  • Strong, stable ownership. Rockets’ owner Les Alexander has owned the team for 20 years and has multiple championships. Alexander was ahead of the curve in hiring Morey and utilizing basketball analytics to aid in making decisions. He has proven to be an owner willing to spend to contend and, more importantly, spends wisely and efficiently. The players needed to complement Harden and Howard will be there.

  • Connection in China. Dwight Howard is a superstar, but blowing up in China could further establish his global brand. Since drafting Yao Ming in 2002, the Rockets have built lasting business relationships in China. Current Rocket Jeremy Lin is largely responsible for the NBA’s growth in China and Taiwan the last two years.

  • Chemistry. This isn’t the Lakers — there’s no internal bickering as these guys genuinely like each other. Houston fans would welcome and adore Howard.

Howard’s Twitter bio says one simple thing: “After the ring!”

The Lakers and Mavericks will try to sell him on what they can eventually add in 2014 and beyond to help him in that pursuit. The Rockets are way ahead of them, locked and loaded right now and for years to come. If winning is truly Howard’s goal in free agency — to set himself up right now for legitimate shots at the ring — there is only one logical choice.

That’s Houston.

Armed with a bizarre fascination for Mario Elie and a deep love of the Houston Rockets, Dave Hardisty started ClutchFans in 1996 under the pen name “Clutch”.

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  1. fyrebear

    June 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Great writeup! Howard & Harden would be an awesome core to build a championship team around. Makes sense for everyone. I think Howard would flourish in Houston and being paired with an easy going unselfish star player like Harden would be perfect. Once Howard signs his contract I think we will see the end of all of that ‘drama’ and he goes back to being the top post threat in the NBA.

    • rocketsfun

      June 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Harden not selfish?  Look at the lost games led by Harden in the past season, Harden made a lot of turnovers and missed shots but still didn’t let other players as key person. He always passed the ball to others until the last 2 seconds. That’s very selfish play. He tried all means to get his stats look good. That’s selfish. He didn’t make others better only himself. Howard with harden? I didn’t see any contender teams but the gossip hype for the sports news. I think that’s the purpose of why Morey wants to sign him– to make Rockets more famous in the NBA. Everybody knew Howard is such a childish adult. Needs to be spoiled too much. He will damage the good chemistry.

      • 34 2 11

        June 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

        rocketsfun  Your English is muddled but your ignorance is crystal clear. James Harden is as unselfish a player you’ll find at his position. 
        Your words echo the hollow criticisms of a certain “player specific” collective  whose sole objective is to prop up their hero at all costs, even to the detriment of the team. I think that is why you and your compatriots are so against the Rockets bringing in A-level talent because you fear it will further diminish the significance of your favorite player.
        The addition of Howard to this Rockets team is the best of all possible moves. It puts the Rockets is a position of contention with anticipation and expectation we haven’t seen since the arrival of Tracy McGrady.

  2. surreALEX

    June 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Good write up. Howard and Harden!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. dasgda

    June 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Uhhhhh you forgot to mention the team he is going to the ATL Hawks. Paul/Horford/Howard>>>>>>>>>>>Harden/Howard and it really isn’t close.

    • BimaThug

      June 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      dasgda If the salary cap comes in at $58.5 million (as expected), then both Dwight and CP3 would have to sign at a discount to team up in Atlanta, likely a bigger discount than Lebron, Bosh and Wade gave Miami in 2010.  Not saying it won’t happen, but the Rockets would be able to pay Dwight more to play with Harden, Parsons, Lin, Asik, Beverley and multiple good young PF prospects than Atlanta could reasonably pay him if the Hawks were also adding CP3.

    • jahunter221

      June 4, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Get off the crack

    • jahunter221

      June 4, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Get off the dope atlanta

    • ramnale

      June 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

      dasgda Well that was stupid.  You just added a player whos not even on your team(Paul) just to try to look better than us.  You know if  you put Horford/Howard against a Harden/Howard, that wouldnt even be close.  As for me, I wouldnt mind picking up Garnet or Gasol if the Howard trade doesnt go thru.

  4. kevC

    June 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Where is the bullet for “finest strip clubs”?

  5. LetItBurnUSA

    June 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    It all comes down to what’s more important to Howard. The glamor of Hollywood and more guaranteed money(for now) or the opportunity to win right away. If it’s the former, he remains a Laker. If it’s the latter, he either becomes a Rocket or maybe an Atlanta Hawk.

  6. da_juice

    June 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Good read, I also like that there’s been more articles up lately. I’m just trying not to get my hopes up too much.

  7. Mathloom

    June 4, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Great analysis. I’m convinced that, if Howard doesn’t join, both the Rockets and Howard will be worse off. If he genuinely is basing his decision on the ability to win a championship in a 3 year window (before he can opt out) then we are the best bet. None of the Lakers, Dallas or Atlanta can offer him a shot at the title in all 3 of those seasons. Equally important, Harden is the best player of anyone on all 4 rosters. It’s also a bit far fetched to think that returning to contender status in 2014 is a given for the other teams.

  8. rampak

    June 4, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Except for playing under mchale and chinese market, other teams can also offer howard the same things.yet, if there is one thing kobe can teach, is that you don’t have to play with a chinese to be big there.Mchale is a hall of fame pf, who refused to play one of his four pf.Your proposed trade for garnet, doesn’t make sense for celtics.Asik’s offense is too raw. The only reason celtics will pursue asik is to pair him with garnet

  9. phil

    June 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    This is nonsense. Dwight has not gotten better in the low post, freethrows, jumpshots, etc. His basketball iq is questionable. His strongest asset is defense and it has been several years since his peak. He relies on his athleticism like stoudemire and has not learned the.skills and has been more and more injury prone. Do you want.a 20 million a year amare stoudemire called superman

    • JB012

      June 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      @phil 100% this. Howard IS NOT worth it. There’s plenty of other bigs with WAY less risk. Rockets fans who want Howard to Houston are caught up in the hype.

      • fyrebear

        June 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

        @JB012 @phil In Dwight Horward’s worst year (playing hurt coming off surgery) he was 3rd team All NBA at C. DH has his warts like any NBA player, but he is leagues better than Amare, especially defensively. 
        “There’s plenty of other bigs with WAY less risk.”
        Please tell us the “available” bigs for which the Rockets can choose from that have the ‘ceiling’ to propel the Rockets to the next level in a way that DH12 has the ability to.

        • phil

          June 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

          Your not understanding my comparison. Amare used to average bigger numbers than dwight until he lost his athleticism(injurys). Amare’s game lacks fundamental skills and that’s why he’s not affective anymore. Dwight also relies on his athleticism and doesn’t have the fundamentals so an injury could make him a non factor as well. If he can’t jump over people he can’t score.

        • phil

          June 7, 2013 at 11:21 pm

          I would go after our need, pf. Ideally a derrick favors or maybe d.cousins. If not then split the time with jones & robinson only! This is the youngest team in the league and the 23-24 year olds will only get better with time, don’t believe anyone that thinks we have to rush. We need a legit post player

        • Ryan

          July 5, 2013 at 7:24 pm

          fyrebear “Please tell us the “available” bigs for which the Rockets can choose from that have the ‘ceiling’ to propel the Rockets to the next level in a way that DH12 has the ability to.”  
          Exactly.  As Morey said when he traded for Hasheem Thabeet (where is he these days, anyway?), we need a big man, and you can’t trade for proven big men in this league because teams won’t give them up.  
          Understand, I’m not totally sold on him either – he’s got a bad back and arguably a worse attitude – but there’s no question that the Rockets just got the attention of every team in the league.

  10. phil

    June 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    There’s also the issue of the drama dwight causes because of his unstable mentality. You would not able to start asik.& dwight(scoring, ft’s, jumpshots, etc) or bring asik off the bench(too good). Big men don’t get healthier as they age and the rockets style is not gonna help. He’s got a quitter mentality, magic, lakers

    • phil

      June 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      I would also demote mchale to assistant and bring in jeff van gundy. He’s the best defensive coach out there with tons of knowledge and experience. I would never ever trade an asik for aging kg, trading a bright star big man for a past his prime about to retire is ludacris!

  11. EricHeard

    June 5, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Howard + Harden = H-town

  12. Dadakota

    June 5, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Great article, it would be awesome to cheer for a contender again.DD

    • jahunter221

      June 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Preach Dakota preach!!!!!””

  13. solid

    June 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Agree with everything except the owner having “multiple championships.” A bit of a reach don’t you think? He bought them, didn’t earn them. And he hasn’t done much with the “twenty years” until recently.

  14. formido

    June 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I’d say Lin is “pretty good” at pick and roll. 🙂 Morey said in a recent interview that he was the 5th best pick and roll player in the league:

  15. PhiSlammaJamma

    June 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I don’t see the logic the same way. The Lakers hold all the cards. They have the better team, they have the bigger star, they have a better lifestyle, they have the history, they attract more free agents, and they have the better coach. They don’t have youth, and they don’t have China. But seriously, they own us more we than we own them. So for me, the logic falls to the Lakers. That said, Howard is not logical. He’s emotional. And so I do think there is a chance to brainwash him into coming here. But the logic all lies with the Lakers and I’m just being honest. So if it comes down to that, they will win. They won the last time. They have won this war many times before. They will win it again.

    • MikeMcMannes

      June 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Rarely do I find a post that is wrong on nearly EVERY point…but alas, I have found another.

  16. rocketsfun

    June 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Last year Rockets signed Jeremy lin for Asian markets. this year, Rockets wants to sign Howard for American markets so that NBA or sports world will talk about Huston everyday. Howard and Harden can make contender? Kobe Bryne and Harward, and Nash all together could not make title contender. Rockets needs a best PF to help the team for title contender not the dram queen.

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Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Draft Decisions: Who Will Be the #3 Pick?




Houston Rockets Podcast

It’s officially NBA Draft Week!

The weeks of speculation are coming to an end as we’ve just about arrived at the 2024 NBA Draft. The Rockets hold picks #3 and #44 and could be quite active on the trade market.

Dave Hardisty and David Weiner paired up on the ClutchFans podcast to discuss the options before the Houston Rockets as they approach the June 26th NBA Draft. Is it really down to Donovan Clingan and Reed Sheppard as options? The pair also discuss trade-down options and whether Devin Carter could be intriguing to Ime Udoka. And are the Rockets a darkhorse for a Paul George trade?

The podcast premieres at 8:00am CT! Come join us!


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Houston Rockets

Podcast: Houston Rockets options with the #3 pick of the 2024 NBA Draft




Houston Rockets 2024 NBA Draft prospects Zaccharie Risacher Stephon Castle Reed Sheppard Donovan Clingan

The offseason is now underway.

The forecast looks good for the Houston Rockets, but… there’s pressure as well this offseason because there are a handful of other West teams that might have rosier futures. Ime Udoka wants to win and win big. As we are about five weeks away from the NBA Draft, what are the Rockets looking to do this summer?

David Weiner joined Dave Hardisty on the ClutchFans podcast to discuss the Rockets shockingly landing the #3 pick and their options in this draft, including Reed Sheppard, Donovan Clingan, Zaccharie Risacher, Stephon Castle, Matas Buzelis and others. They also discuss the possibility of some big game hunting in Houston.


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Podcast: Steven Adams, Mikal Bridges and Trade Possibilities for the Rockets




Houston Rockets Trade Deadline 2024

The Houston Rockets already made one deal, acquiring center Steven Adams from Memphis for a handful of second-round picks, but we still have several days left before this Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline.

Are more deals on the way?

Rumors of interest in Mikal Bridges have swirled, with the Rockets holding precious (and unprotected) first-round picks from Brooklyn. They also could use some help inside this season, which Adams can not provide. Shooting is always in demand.

David Weiner joined Dave Hardisty on the ClutchFans podcast to discuss the Adams trade, its impact on the Rockets in 2024-25 and beyond, the Mikal Bridges rumors, the Brooklyn picks, other trade possibilities and options for Rafael Stone moving forward. Also discussed is the play of Houston’s core 6 prospects: Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Alperen Sengun, Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason and Jalen Green.


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Houston Rockets

Rockets trade for center Steven Adams




Steven Adams Houston Rockets

The Rockets made a surprise trade on Thursday, sending the contract of Victor Oladipo and three second-round picks to Memphis for center Steven Adams.

The deal came together quickly and the Rockets had a small window to get it done, hence why this trade was made with a week to go until the trade deadline.

The Price

When you consider that Memphis did this for cost savings primarily and that Adams would not play for any team in the league this season, the price seemed a little high to me. The Rockets gave up the OKC second-round pick this year, which is no big loss, but they also give up the better of Brooklyn’s or Golden State’s second-round pick this season. That’s a pretty good pick (likely in the late 30’s). They also give up the better of Houston’s or OKC’s second-round pick in 2025. If things go as planned for the Rockets, that pick should be in the 45-55 range.

But they didn’t sacrifice a first-round pick, which would have been brutal, and they were not going to use all those seconds this season. So it’s just a matter of opportunity cost — who else could they have gotten for this package?

My understanding is they (particularly Ime Udoka) are very high on Adams.

The Rockets also did this move for cap purposes as well. By moving out the Oladipo contract, which was expiring, and bringing in Adams’ deal, which is signed for $12.4M next season, the window for the Rockets to put together a trade package for a star player is extended out until the 2025 trade deadline. They continue to wait to see which players, if any, shake loose here and become available. They want flexible (see: expiring) contracts that they can combine with assets and this gives them another year to be in that position.

The Trade

It’s not often that the Rockets acquire a player I had not considered beforehand but that’s the case with Steven Adams. The Rockets sorely need a big with size that provides more traditional center strengths, making Clint Capela, Robert Williams, Nick Richards or Daniel Gafford potential candidates, but Adams was overlooked for a few reasons.

First, the 30-year old big man is out for the season after knee surgery cost him the entire 2023-24 campaign, so the Rockets won’t get any benefit from this trade this season. Secondly, Adams is not your traditional center either when it comes to rim protection.

But what Adams does do, he’s really good at and he has some of the same strengths of Brook Lopez, who the Rockets tried to sign in the offseason. Adams is quite possibly the strongest guy in the league and a legitimate 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. He’s an outstanding screen-setter, something that could really benefit the likes of Fred VanVleet, Amen Thompson and Jalen Green. He was also an elite rebounder last season, finishing 6th in the league in caroms at 11.5 a game despite playing just 27.0 minutes a contest.

After watching Jonas Valanciunas absolutely bully the Rockets inside on Wednesday, it should be apparent by now to everyone that this was a pretty big need.

In 2021-22, the Memphis Grizzlies finished #2 in the West at 56-26. Their top two players in Net Rating that season were Dillon Brooks (+11.0) and Adams (+8.3), key cogs in a defense that held opponents to 108.6 points per 100 possessions. They’re both now Houston Rockets.

So this adds another trusted vet to Ime Udoka’s rotation.

The question is will the 30-year old Adams return to form after the knee injury? Adams sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee a year ago, which cost him the end of that season and the playoffs. He tried rehabbing it and it never got better, so surgery became the option just as this season was kicking off.

I like to think the Rockets did their due diligence on that, despite the short time it took for this deal to come together, but that’s unclear.

If he does bounce back, then Udoka has a big man he can turn to reliably in situational matchups or on nights when the younger bigs struggle. He wouldn’t be Boban or even Jock Landale in that scenario — he’s going to play, so the frontcourt depth in 2024-25 should be better. In the end, they got a starting-caliber center who will have no problems coming off the bench, and that’s what they were looking for.

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Houston Rockets

On the KPJ trade and future of the Rockets




The Houston Rockets are back to being a professional NBA team once again.

The Rockets finally ended the Kevin Porter Jr. era on Tuesday, coughing up two second-round picks in order to unload his contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder, getting back the contract of Victor Oladipo and third-year forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The move puts an end to a long investment and very rocky tenure with KPJ.

David Weiner joined Dave Hardisty on the ClutchFans podcast to discuss the Porter Jr. Experiment, the price paid to move him, Houston’s potential trade options moving forward, the new culture and the current state of the Rockets young core.

ClutchFans Podcast: On Apple | Spotify

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