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Report: Rockets decline Hornets offer for Dwight Howard

Courtesy of USA Today Images

The Houston Rockets are trying to move Dwight Howard at the NBA trade deadline, but the team didn’t budge on an offer from the Charlotte Hornets.

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Charlotte to send Al Jefferson and Spencer Hawes to Houston.

Isola also said Howard is “the most likely big name on the move” because his agent and the Rockets are “working hard to make a trade.”

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Houston wants a first-round pick in exchange for Howard, which was likely the primary reason it rejected Charlotte’s offer.

Jefferson would give Houston a big man with some shooting range, and that’s not all bad. He’s hoisted 45.9 percent of his shots from 10 feet or farther compared to a paltry Howard’s 1.4 percent clip.

Although Jefferson is a solid scorer, he’s not exactly a stout defensive presence. Per NBA.com, Jefferson has allowed a 58.3 percent mark to opponents within five feet of the basket. Of 286 players who have averaged 15 minutes over 15 appearances, that ranks 226th.

Howard, who admittedly isn’t the dominant defender of years past, still has limited shooters to 49.7 percent at the rim. Trading him for Jefferson would only worsen the Rockets’ disastrous defense.

Some may be wondering what to make of Spencer Hawes.

Well, he’s simply a bad contract thrown in to make the numbers work. Hawes earns approximately $5.8 million per season and holds a player option for the 2017-18 campaign, according to HoopsHype. Charlotte has to make room for Howard and his $22-plus million, and Hawes is an expendable reserve.

Jefferson has an expiring deal, so unless the Rockets are truly and nonsensically desperate, don’t expect the franchises to circle back and finalize a Howard-to-Hornets trade.