As reports continue surfacing that the framework of a deal to send Dwight Howard to Los Angeles has been agreed upon, it appears as though the Rockets are in full-on rebuild mode. As baffling as the deal is for the Magic, all signs indicate that the deal is going to go through. There will be no veto, no conglomerate of owners capable of stopping this trade. The only thing that could hold this back would be
ROB HENNIGAN REALIZING THIS IS A HORRIFIC DEAL cold feet from any of the parties at the last minute.
And now, the Rockets are left on the outside, with a rebuilding effort presumably on the horizon. As I noted a few days ago, Daryl Morey has built a roster perfect for rebuilding, heavy in draft picks and young players and light in expensive contracts.
So, in a sense, there is no reason to panic. Because the Rockets will likely commit to rebuilding, they will automatically land the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft which they will use to draft a superstar who loves Houston and has no maturity questions about him whatsoever. He, along with Jeremy Lamb and Donatas Motiejunas, who will also become superstars because they'll get major playing time, will lead the Rockets to multiple championships in the next half decade. That's how rebuilding works, right?
Oh I forgot, it doesn't always work like that. Guess what? Rebuilding sucks. Watching the shiny new toys in action will be entertaining for the first couple of months of the season, but that'll get old quickly as the losses pile up in maddening fashion. If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you care enough to stick around, but it's not going to be any fun.
When Lin and Lamb allow the 600th guard to penetrate the paint at will, it's not going to be fun. When Patrick Patterson has nowhere to hide when he struggles, it's not going to be any fun. When Omer Asik bricks another free throw, it's not going to be any fun. When Royce White plays point guard, ok, maybe, that'll be fun.
These Rockets are going to be young, inexperienced, and exposed. The potential for a good pick in the draft is enticing, but the path to get there will be painful.
There's a reason why I was always in the camp that believed the Rockets absolutely had to make a deal for Howard or Bynum if there was one on the table. With bird rights in hand, the team would, in my estimation, have a better shot at convincing Howard to stay than finding another star of his caliber in the draft. Instead of potentially waiting for years, the team would have had a great shot at securing its superstar for both now and the future. Now, there is no timeline for that to happen.
With Los Angeles propelling themselves into championship contention, with Philadelphia signing up for the Andrew Bynum YOLO years, and Denver upgrading their roster as well, Houston is the obvious loser here (other than Orlando).
Given the absurd price Orlando got back for Howard, I have no idea how Morey didn't top that offer, unless he simply wasn't inclined to do so. Arron Afflalo, he of an 8.8 PPG career average, was the headliner for the deal, with talented but flawed young players in Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic also on the way to Orlando. In the end, the Magic didn't get a single elite draft pick or player, and could only ditch Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon's moderately palatable contracts.
With closure coming as soon as this morning, the Rockets are likely embarking on a long journey of rebuilding. It may be the best thing for the team, but pretending it's going to be anything but difficult is naive.
Jump for your links!
Another Morey Miss? Report Says Howard To Lakers - The Dream Shake
Our man Tom Martin on the trade.
Despite Dwight Howard Trade, Houston Rockets Are Happy With What They Have | Red94
Rahat Huq gives his take on the Rockets' role in negotiations and their future.
Dwight Howard To The Lakers? Don’t Worry Rockets Fans | Houston Chronicle
Jerome Solomon's trolling has reached a new level.
Sources -- Dwight Howard-To-Los Angeles Lakers Four-Team Deal Complete - ESPN
The rich get richer.
Lakers May Not Gain Most From Howard Deal - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
Los Angeles might not see the biggest win boost out of this deal, but they made the difficult step from contender to potentially the favorites to win the championship. They're the clear winners.
Rapid Reaction: The Lakers Acquire Dwight Howard - ESPN Los Angeles
Shortened version: Los Angeles is going to be really good with Dwight Howard.
Grade the Trade: Magic Trade Dwight Howard To L.A. Lakers In Four-Way deal - CBSSports.com
Matt Moore and Royce Young are much nicer than I would be to the Orlando Magic in their post-trade grades.
Around The League
Kobe Bryant Says He Has Nothing To Learn From Team USA Teammates | Ball Don't Lie
Of course he doesn't.
Another Round With Argentina Stands In The Way Of Team USA's Shot At Gold - CBSSports.com
This promises to be a chippy, and fun matchup between Scola, Ginobili, Nocioni, and the superstars from the US.
Bulls May Look Cheap, But Moves Made (Or Not) With Eye Toward Future - CBSSports.com
Ken Berger writes about why the Bulls passed up on keeping Asik while acquiring mediocre pieces in Marco Belinelli, Kirk Hinrich, and Nate Robinson.
Rockets Video Of The Day (To Make Everyone Feel A Bit Better)
Omer Asik Gives Blood For The Block (via NBA)