ATLANTA, GA - FILE: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was reported that the Orlando Magic have taken Dwight Howard off the market citing that none of the offers were worth pursuing December 14, 2011. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
For years, Daryl Morey has been hurtling down this path of minor trades, piling up assets with the hope that one day, a star will be available. Carmelo Anthony may have been his first major target, but there is little doubt that Dwight Howard is a completely different beast.
Though the situations are somewhat similar in that Morey has tried to acquire each disgruntled star who asked out of town, that's where the two diverge. In the Anthony trade discussions, Morey tried and tried to acquire Carmelo, but the Knicks won out when they to the Nuggets' demands and gave them an offer nobody could top. Morey simply didn't have the assets.
Now, Morey has everything (and more) that Orlando could want. If he wants to step up to the plate and give the Magic their "slam dunk" deal, he certainly can. For now, it appears that he won't. Given Adrian Wojnarowski's report that Dwight will happily "march right into Dallas' cap space next summer" if the Rockets acquire him, that might be prudent.
However, if that report is true, why even pursue him? That's where it gets tricky. As we all know, Dwight is nothing but a little child on the inside, changing his mind on a whim in order to please whoever is pressuring him on that day. He asked for a trade out of Orlando, asked to stay when they were about to trade him, and then re-requested a trade this summer. As difficult of a personality as he is, the Rockets believe that they can convince him to stay with the prospect of bringing along another star player to Houston.
And if it becomes clear that Howard is not going to stay a Rocket? Those same teams lining up to acquire him now would then be sending offers the Rockets way. The Lakers, with a tacit commitment from Howard to re-sign in the summer, would likely offer Andrew Bynum in exchange, allowing the Rockets to still emerge from their Dwightmare with an All-Star center.
In the end, I really have no idea what Morey is going to do. Woj's discouraging report tonight is nothing the Rockets don't know, and they surely will continue to pursue Dwight Howard. Whether they'll finish on top this time is a question way outside of my pay grade.
Jump for your links!
Houston Rockets Salary Cap Update: "Total Rebuild" Edition | Houston Rockets Blog | ClutchFans
Bimathug on ClutchFans has his latest salary cap update. A must-read.
Ultimate Rockets " Rockets Sign Two Of Three First-Round Picks: White and Jones
This means that we will almost certainly not see resolution to the Dwight Howard talk until at least the end of August.
Dwight Howard Reiterates Desire For Trade During Meeting With Hennigan - RealGM Wiretap
Jarrod Rudolph is on top of the Dwight Howard talk as always.
Report: Lakers, Andrew Bynum Open Contract Extension Talks - CBSSports.com
I don't foresee a Bynum contract getting done because he's best served becoming a free agent next summer (receiving a 5 year deal vs. a 3 year extension), but this deal could take the Lakers out of the Dwight Howard bidding. Or it could just be more posturing to pressure Orlando to make a deal.
Limbo Reigns After Latest Meeting Between Howard And Magic | Pro Basketball News
An excellent piece from PBN's Tony Mejia.
Parting Shot - Don't Blame Lin - ESPN Video - ESPN
Israel Gutierrez tells it like it is.
Daryl Morey | video | Rockets.com
The man himself comments on the acquisition of Omer Asik. Not sure what I think about his t-shirt, though.
Jeremy Lin: Behind The Scenes | video | Rockets.com
A cool look at Jeremy Lin's first day back with the Rockets.
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Minnesota’s Strange Offseason Results In The Team’s Signing Of Andrei Kirilenko | Ball Don't Lie
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Look out for this on the horizon.
Indelible Infirmity | Hardwood Paroxysm
As you see other teams loading up on older vets, the Rockets are sending them packing. A look from Ian Levy at why the Rockets' strategy might be the correct one.