The Houston Rockets are aggressively attempting to trade power forward Thomas Robinson in the near future in order to free enough cap room to offer a maximum contract to Lakers center — and soon-to-be free agent — Dwight Howard in time for the start of free agency, according to Yahoo Sports.
Houston has reportedly made it known to multiple “rival teams” that they plan to accept the best trade offer for Robinson in order to eliminate his $3.52 million salary.
Trading Robinson would enable Houston to offer Dwight a maximum deal starting at $20.5 million a season.
The Rockets are rumored to be one of the top two teams possibly in line for Howard’s services, with the Dallas Mavericks being the other.
Howard had a very disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, as the Lakers could not find proper chemistry throughout the year. Howard and shooting guard Kobe Bryant repeatedly seemed to clash during games, and Howard publicly demanded more touches on offense during postgame interviews with the media. In addition, head coach Mike D’Antoni’s job security was in limbo all season, as Los Angeles’ star laden team limped into the playoffs before being swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. As a result of the uneasiness in the Lakers locker room, compounded by the fact that Los Angeles fell well short of expectations, it is widely expected that Howard will move on to a new team during free agency this offseason.
Howard has been intrigued by Houston as a possible destination this offseason. The Rockets have one of the best young tandems in the NBA with James Harden and Chandler Parsons leading the charge. In addition, point guard Jeremy Lin had a solid year for the Rockets after bursting onto the scene with the New York Knicks last season.
Houston may be one piece away from becoming legitimate contenders in the Western Conference, and Howard may be the player to propel them to that level.
It now appears that the Rockets are bent on bringing Howard to Houston, and if Robinson were to ultimately wind up being traded away from the franchise, that could clear the final hurdle for the young center to don the red and white come next season.
What will actually happen in the next few months? That has yet to be determined, although the second Dwight Howard saga in as many years is certainly one of the top stories to follow when the upcoming NBA offseason tips off.