According to the article:
"Houston’s offer wasn’t as attractive as reports have indicated. The Rockets weren’t willing to give up all of their picks and prospects in addition to taking back Orlando’s bad contracts. It was one or the other. If Houston was giving away their prospects, they weren’t taking back bad contracts. If they were taking back bad contracts, they weren’t giving away their prospects. Without a long-term commitment from Howard, the Rockets weren’t willing to potentially ruin their future by giving away all of their prospects and taking back ugly deals. Houston wasn’t going to put themselves in a position where if Howard left after the season, they’d be stuck with bad contracts and have zero young players to build around. Throughout this process, Houston’s offer was described as the perfect deal for Orlando, but the Rockets were never going to give up everything and take back all of Orlando’s luggage."