Dwight Howard kept everyone on pins and needles, but as the day went on it seemed as if he was more and more likely to sign with the Houston Rockets. That’s exactly what has happened, according to USA TODAY Sports.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2013
The Rockets pulled out all the stops in their pitch for Howard. Owner Les Alexander, GM Daryl Morey, head coach Kevin McHale, current players James Harden and Chandler Parsons, and even former player Hakeem Olajuwon met with Howard Sunday night on the west coast. It seems that even though the Golden State Warriors were putting pieces in place to get him by dumping salary and signing Andre Iguodala, it wasn’t enough to sway the top 2013 free agent prize.
The Dallas Mavericks were expected to be the No. 2 horse in this race, but they were informed Friday afternoon Howard would not be signing with them.
The Rockets are not instant contenders to de-throne the Miami Heat, but the moves definitely puts them in prime position to compete with Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, the two Western Conference favorites for next season. The Rockets have been putting themselves in a position to sign a big name free agent the past several seasons, always coming up short of the big prize.
This was the big move Morey has been hoping for all along, and the Rockets may not be done dealing. They could still dump the contracts of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik (details have not come out, but these two could be included in a sign and trade with the Los Angeles Lakers) and make a play for Josh Smith, whom they’ve coveted for a long time.
One thing is for sure: the Houston Rockets are here to stay.