Western Notes: Howard, Rondo, Kaman, Payne

Dwight Howard is “extremely unhappy” as a secondary option to James Harden on the Rockets, league sources tell Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops, but a source tells Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com that “everybody is unhappy” (Twitter link), with everybody presumably a reference to all of the Rockets. Houston has played better since last month’s coaching change, but the team is still just 12-13. Howard and Harden have never truly meshed, as Fran Blinebury of NBA.com wrote last month, adding that members of each other’s camp went into the 2014 offseason “whispering” about their desire to get rid of the other. Sheridan speculates about trade scenarios involving Howard, but no indication exists that the Rockets would indeed entertain any deals for the 30-year-old who has a player option worth more than $23.282MM for next season. Howard is No. 6 in our latest 2016 Free Agent Power Rankings. See more from the Western Conference:

  • Rajon Rondo apologized to referee Bill Kennedy today in the point guard’s second statement in response to the controversy surrounding the homophobic slur he used during a game earlier this month as an insult to Kennedy, who is gay. Some took issue with his first statement, which he issued Monday via two tweets, for its lack of a direct apology, and executives who spoke with Ken Berger of CBSSports.com offered split opinions on whether the matter would affect Rondo’s free agency this summer.
  • The Trail Blazers are making Chris Kaman available for trades, league sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Kaman is pulling down $5.016MM this season, the last one on his contract. A sprained right ankle has helped limit him to just three appearances so far in 2015/16.
  • Timberwolves power forward Adreian Payne is also available, league sources said to Scotto for the same report. Payne, who’s earning almost $1.939MM in the second season of his rookie scale contract, was the 15th overall pick of the 2014 draft, but he’s played sparingly since. He’s averaging 3.5 points in 10.3 minutes per game across 15 appearances for Minnesota so far this season, though the team committed to him financially less than two months ago when it picked up his 2016/17 team option.
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