Rockets in conversation to land Josh Smith after signing Dwight Howard

USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets are working to acquire Josh Smith in a sign-and-trade. Is that move for the best?

In a move that's been speculated upon for the last week and a half, the Rockets are working on a deal to bring another top big man to the team, Josh Smith. Ken Berger, Chris Broussard, and a number of Atlanta media have all reported that the teams have had preliminary conversations, and Asik has expressed an unwillingness to play alongside Dwight Howard.

Broussard appears to have just been speculating, but he wrote that the deal could include both Asik and Lin, which would require the Rockets to either find another point guard or roll with Patrick Beverley at the point next season. Jose Calderon was mentioned days ago as a potential target, but there has been little to corroborate that information since then.

But turning back to Smith, I did not like the idea of signing Smith alone if the Rockets struck out on Howard, but Smith with Howard is a combination worth selling out for. Signing Smith without Howard would not only limit the Rockets' flexibility moving forward, it would lock them into a perennial cycle of an above-average, but never threatening team. Essentially a better version of Atlanta. Paying Josh Smith $60 million over four years to shoot 150 three pointers a season made little sense.

With Howard, however, the Rockets have already opened the door to championship contention. They aren't going to be under the cap for a long time, and from where they are, any upgrades they can make are worth making. This isn't a young, upstart team anymore, it is a contender looking to fuel up for the long term.

And in that vein, Josh Smith makes tremendous sense. Having a pair of shot-blockers behind James Harden and potentially Jeremy Lin would be a godsend to help cover up their defensive inadequacies, and Smith is an absolute terror in the open court who will bolster the Rockets already impressive transition offense.

If the Rockets can get both Smith and Howard to buy into their system on both ends of the floor, the ceiling is absolutely limitless. Both are 27, and, assuming they can stay healthy, there's no reason to believe they aren't in the primes of their career.

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