The Houston Rockets are reportedly trying to deal Dwight Howard before Thursday’s trade deadline, but they may be short on suitors.
Howard, 30, is averaging just 14.6 points – his lowest since his rookie season in 2004-05. He’ll also be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Those are problems.
“Anybody who’s going to deal for Dwight wants to know that he’s not going to opt out and that they (aren’t) just renting him for a few months,” Bleacher Report NBA senior writer Ric Bucher said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “And as of right now, he doesn’t really want to leave Houston. Even though it wasn’t that long ago that he was playing the free-agency market and there were a number of destinations that he considered, the possibility that you could get a Dwight Howard or that Dwight is going to commit to anyone – or that he’s really excited about a new address anywhere other than Houston right now – is going to be a difficult sell.”
Howard was the best player on an Orlando Magic team that played in the NBA Finals in 2009, and he was arguably the second-best player on a team that played the Warriors in the Western Conference last season. This year, however, Houston (27-28), is a game under .500 and barely has a playoff pulse.
Critics will blame Howard for this and say he’s a coach-killer who just wants to bail when things go south, but that’s really not the case here.
“No, it’s not – and it’s really unfair,” Bucher said. “I know it’s easy. We inherently want to fit guys into boxes, and once we decide (our perception of them, it’s hard to change). Any athlete of any renown, we have an image of them. We create an image of them, but we try to do it as quickly as possible. Cam Newton fits in that category, Russell Westbrook – you can go down the line. It takes an awful lot to dissuade us. Nobody wants to be wrong. Nobody wants to have to reset and go, ‘You know what? I didn’t have this guy quite right. My bad. I’m going to have to reset.’ Nobody likes to do that. We’re lazy. Once we do label somebody, it’s super-glued on there and if anything happens that fits with our preconceived notion of who somebody is, then we automatically just go that direction and go, ‘See? That’s more confirmation.’ And in this case with Dwight, it’s simply not.
“He has done absolutely nothing wrong in Houston,” Bucher continued. “Has not wanted to leave, has not been an issue, has not been a bad player, hasn’t undercut the coach. And yet, now that Houston has decided (that) this isn’t a really good fit, our mix doesn’t work, he may be leaving sooner rather than later, we may get nothing for him, we need to move him – people fill in the blanks as far as why that is. It’s more, ‘See? One more place where Dwight Howard just couldn’t get it done and he’s the bad act.’ It’s simply not deserved in this case.”