Dwight Howard has reportedly chosen to team up with James Harden and join the Houston Rockets. This move makes Houston a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. Howard now gets a fresh start and hopes to make this a new phase in his career. We all have reason to believe the future in Houston is very, very bright.
The Rockets are not done making moves, though. Omer Asik is now likely to be traded and Houston is also targeting a sign-and-trade for Josh Smith. Houston is also rumored to have a mutual interest with Jose Calderon, who is also a free agent. Whatever else happens with Houston, we know that Howard and Harden are two incredible building blocks.
I’m sure Dwight Howard had to thoroughly think this decision through, but Howard has been leaning toward joining the Rockets for at least couple months now. Kobe Bryant is probably the greatest player of the last 15 years but his old age was a huge factor in Dwight not wanting to return to L.A. Let’s be honest: the Lakers just didn’t have much to offer to Dwight. Bryant said that he would “teach him how to be a champion.” However, words only mean so much because the Lakers just didn’t have an appealing enough product in place to attract Howard back.
On the other hand, the Houston Rockets have a lot for Dwight Howard to be excited about. James Harden is one of the NBA’s newest, proven superstars. Here’s an interesting statistic: Harden and Howard were the first and third best in the league at getting to the free-throw line. Both of these superstars welcome contact and make a living off being extremely physical on the court.
The Lakers clearly were not working out for Dwight Howard. They just didn’t have a group that was youthful and energetic enough. Think of the Orlando Magic when they got to the Finals in 2009: they were a young, athletic, and very talented team. Howard had great shooters around him and was amazing at opening up the court for them. While Houston does not have the shooting that Orlando had, they do have another fantastic player in James Harden, who is sure to tremendously benefit Howard’s game.
The Golden State Warriors gave Dwight another option that he strongly considered. But Houston’s financial situation was much more favorable and it was as though they were right there, waiting for Howard enter their arena. The Warriors signed Andre Iguodala to a four-year deal earlier today to strengthen their roster. While they made a great pitch to land Howard, they just missed but they can’t be too disappointed.
Houston may land Josh Smith in a sign-and-trade, who knows? However, if they don’t, then they need to turn their attention toward possibly trading for Calderon. As I said before, both of these players are rumored to have free agency ties with the Rockets. All that said, Houston does need to try and add a few more long range shooters to their squad. Chandler Parsons is their strongest spot-up shooter and they need to find a way to reel in someone else with a similar shooting ability.
The emergence of Dwight Howard in Houston certainly makes a gigantic splash in the NBA this offseason. I have a strange feeling that Houston Rocket season ticket prices are going to slowly increase. What you pay is what you’re expected to get and H-town is expecting an enchilada for the future.
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