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Houston’s Quest for Dwight Howard Begins
Posted By Bill Ingram On June 30, 2013 @ 3:30 pm In Main Page,NBA | No Comments
It’s no secret that Los Angeles Lakers free agent center Dwight Howard is the most coveted free agent on this summer’s market, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere you already know that the Houston Rockets consider it their only offseason priority to sign him long-term.
Today that effort kicked into high gear, with the team waiving both Aaron Brooks and Carlos Delfino. The only thing left to do is to find a team to take Thomas Robinson in a trade that doesn’t send any guaranteed money back to Houston. They worked hard to move him for a low first round pick on draft night, but at the end of the day they couldn’t get a deal done.
One league source told HOOPSWORLD recently that other NBA teams are unwilling to help Houston make the move they need to clear room to sign Howard to a maximum deal. The San Antonio Spurs, for example, would love to have Robinson, but not enough to help Houston potentially land Howard and all but assure the Spurs would not get back to the NBA Finals.
In order to sign Howard, the Rockets would need to have a $20.5 million slot on the roster that doesn’t put them over the luxury tax threshold, expected to be set at $71.5 million next season. They don’t have such a slot today, but after waiving Brooks and Delfino they are two significant steps closer.
It seems likely that sooner or later the Rockets can find a taker for Robinson, even if it means all but giving him away. To be clear, however, that is no guarantee that Howard will choose Houston. A source with direct knowledge of the situation told HOOPSWORLD today that Howard has not remotely made up his mind, and he won’t do so until he’s had some face-to-face meetings with teams, which can start after midnight eastern tonight.
The argument for Houston is simply that they have a great young team that could grow around James Harden and Howard for years to come. Much as LeBron James found his niche in Miami, Houston could turn out to be the place where Howard comes into his own and establishes himself as a champion.
All the Rockets have to do is clear that last little bit of cap space and then convince Howard to sign on the dotted line.
Free agents can begin signing contracts on July 10.
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