Report: Rockets tried to trade Howard to nearly 25 percent of the NBA

How desperate were the Houston Rockets to get rid of Dwight Howard before he hits free agency this summer?

A quick glance at the list of teams the Rockets reportedly contacted about a Howard trade leading up to Thursday’s deadline answers that question, and it’s not pretty:

That’s at least seven teams with whom Houston had some level of discussion on the Rockets center, or 23.3 percent of the league.

Yet even with all those calls being made and all those conversations, nothing materialized for Houston. In fact, there were never any substantial rumors reported on Thursday linking the Rockets with any other team, and we have a theory as to why:

Howard’s just not that good anymore. Oh, he could be a very good NBA player; he still understands defense better than almost anyone in the league, and he’s capable of being a force on offense. But Howard wants the ball in the post, and he’s just not effective with his back to the basket. For one, the NBA doesn’t work like that anymore. More importantly, Howard’s back won’t let him turn and face the basket as quickly as he needs to.

And that’s truly unfortunate, because Howard has the skill and athleticism (yes, even with his bad back) to be one of the best pick-and-roll big men in the league. If he’d embrace being more like Rudy Gobert or the version of Tyson Chandler who helped the Dallas Mavericks to a title a few years back, Howard could still be an impact player in this league.

It’s up to him — and no one else.

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