|By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor |
The Houston Rockets, for the second consecutive postseason, are planning a huge run at Dwight Howard.
Last summer, general manager Daryl Morey, mortgaged a lot of contracts in a bid to try to trade with the Orlando Magic for Howard's services.
It failed, but, after a surprising campaign that saw the Rockets make the playoffs and threaten the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Morey is back on the Howard trail.
This time around, Howard is an unrestricted free agent. And this time around, the Rockets are a much more attractive group.
Morey acquired James Harden just before the start of the 2012-13 campaign and he made the All-Star team and was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
Chandler Parsons blossomed as did Omer Asik, although who knows what his role would be if the Rockets obtained Howard's services.
The Rockets would need to shed some salary to get Howard and rumors abound that Thomas Robinson, the fifth pick in last year's draft, whom the Rockets acquired at the trade deadline from the Sacramento Kings, is available.
If Howard becomes an unrealistic option, this team is still pretty stocked with young talent. Houston has no first-round draft choices, but has the 34th overall selection and could add a talent that low.
The power forward position was something of a hole for the Rockets during the season. Robinson would probably fit that bill and, with a full season under the tutelage of head coach Kevin McHale, one of the best ever at that position, he could emerge into that role.
It all depends on Howard.
Players under contract: G: Jeremy Lin; G/F: James Harden; F; Thomas Robinson; C: Omer Asik; F: Carlos Delfino; G: Aaron Brooks; F: Royce White; F: Terrance Jones; F: Dontas Motiejunas; F: Greg Smith; F: Tyler Honeycutt; G: Patrick Beverley; C: Tim Ohlbrecht
Free agents: G/F: Francisco Garcia (team option)
Recent Draft History
2012: Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16), Terrence Jones (18)
2011: Marcus Morris (14), Nikola Mirotic (23), Chandler Parsons (38)
2010: Patrick Patterson (14)
2008: Nicolas Batum (25), Marty Leunen (54)
Draft picks: 2nd round (34th overall)