USA TODAY Sports
At the media session on Friday, Dwight Howard was asked about the Rockets, and his reaction was somewhat surprising.
It's All-Star weekend, and you know what that means: the massive coming together of media, players, and league sources all in one place means that everyone and their mother has a new rumor to report. Yesterday, it was the resurrection of an old rumor, Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers, that made the news, but there was another story that managed to sneak its way under the radar. During media availability, when Dwight Howard was asked about joining the Houston Rockets, he had a surprising answer.
"I like their team to be honest with you," Howard said when discussing the Rockets. "They're a great team. They're young. They play hard. They're scrappy. They play together. Everything they do has been great. It's fun to watch them." After hearing nothing but negativity all summer about the Rockets' prospects of keeping Howard if they acquired him, this story is certainly a breath of fresh air. Obviously, a lot changed when the Rockets got Harden in a red jersey, and that's worth noting with respect to all free agents, not just Howard.
But what also appears to have changed is Howard's opinion of the Lakers. When he was asked about free agency, Howard had very little to say. "There's no need to talk about (free agency). I want to have fun. I want to enjoy myself and not talk about free agency or what I'm going to do at the end of the season."
In his discussion of not talking about free agency, Howard actually said a lot. He continued, talking about free agency, "I've got to do what makes me happy. That's it." When pressed on what makes him happy, he responded, "Having fun on the court, that makes me happy."
And then, the kicker. When asked if he was having fun with the Lakers, Howard said "Not at the present time, no. Hopefully it gets better."
As Daryl Morey reads the reports from this weekend, he could care less if Chandler Parsons scored 13 points in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge or if Jeremy Lin is able to win the Skills Challenge tonight. What he cares about is seeing Dwight Howard, the apple of his eye, dishing on his unhappiness in Los Angeles and his intrigue with the Houston Rockets roster.
With Dallas' roster looking older and older by the day, New Jersey capped out and above the tax apron (and thus unable to make sign-and-trade deals), and Atlanta reportedly out of the running in Howard's mind, the Rockets will be in as good of a position as anybody outside of Los Angeles to sign Howard this summer.
Howard will have thirty million reasons to stick around with the Lakers so the odds have to be overwhelmingly in their favor. Still, the possibility of Howard in a Rockets uniform seems to get more realistic by the day. Just as the Rockets' chances of landing Howard increase each day, the chances that they will make a big deal at the deadline decrease. Morey knows any roster with Dwight Howard on it has more potential than with anyone he could acquire at the deadline, and he's unlikely to want to limit this team's ceiling by landing Danny Granger or Eric Gordon.
It's going to be a really exciting few months, so strap in and enjoy the ride. It'll be a good one.