(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Word around the NBA on Tuesday was that the Houston Rockets were attempting to load up on trade assets in order to make an enticing offer to the Orlando Magic for superstar center Dwight Howard. In the wake of those reports, one source--almost assuredly someone close to Howard--told David Aldridge of NBA.com that there's "not a chance" Howard would remain in Houston beyond the 2012/13 season if dealt there.
It's unclear whether Aldridge's report would dissuade the Rockets from proceeding with their plan to "rent" Howard, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2013, if he doesn't sign a contract extension. The Rockets, knowing of Howard's reluctance to play there, were in talks with the Magic to acquire the All-NBA center until Howard signed a document waiving his Early Termination Option, which option would have enabled him to test free agency a year early, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Aldridge reports the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets remain the teams most dogged in their pursuit of Howard. The Magic granted Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, permission to speak to those teams in order to facilitate a trade during training camp after Howard requested the Magic deal him away.
"If Rockets land Dwight Howard, they would then try to acquire a second star player to put next to him," writes Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD. "They believe he'd stay if given help." Kennedy also reports the Rockets believe their relationship with Hall-of-Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, with whom Howard has worked in the past, could also help their cause.