Dwight Howard is reportedly unhappy with his role on the Houston Rockets, and the team’s struggles could lead the franchise to trade the former All-Star center before the 2016 trade deadline.
Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops suggested Houston could look to trade Howard, who multiple sources said is “extremely unhappy” as the second fiddle to James Harden.
Sheridan predicted Howard will eventually land with the Miami Heat, citing another report claiming the team has interest in Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and is willing to give up Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow along with cap-fillers.
But count us out on the Howard-to-Miami notion.
While Cousins is still a perennial All-Star-caliber player, Howard’s most effective days are gone. It simply doesn’t make sense for Miami to give up the shot-blocking machine for an aging center.
Essentially, the only reason Pat Riley would even entertain a potential deal is Whiteside has an expiring contract. The best offer available will likely win his services in free agency, and Miami may be reluctant to give Whiteside — a promising yet still unproven player — the max.
If Riley wants to deal Whiteside because the chance of re-signing him is slim, that’s perfectly reasonable. However, there’s no way someone as smart as Riley would attempt to revive Howard’s career at such an expensive rate.
Howard cannot play back-to-backs without a minutes restriction. His 13.0 points per game is the lowest since his rookie season. The 7-footer is no longer the three-time Defensive Player of the Year the NBA once watched.
Miami isn’t shipping off its premier defender in exchange for a player who, if the report is true about being disgruntled behind Harden, wouldn’t truly accept losing shots to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Perhaps Whiteside gets traded, but it certainly won’t be for Howard.