Rockets GM Daryl Morey told reporters there is no way Houston will be able to make a solid playoff push this year without Dwight Howard when asked about Howard’s future in Houston as the trade deadline approaches, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle relays. The Rockets are currently seventh in the Western Conference with a 21-20 record. Howard was the subject of trade rumors last month, but he has on multiple occasions denied a report that he’s upset with playing a secondary role to James Harden. The Rockets expect Howard to opt out and hit free agency this summer.
Here are some more highlights from the interview session with Morey and notes regarding the Rockets:
- Ty Lawson has played significantly better as of late and Morey believes the point guard still has tremendous upside, Smith details in the same interview transcription. “We know he’s capable of a very high level of play,” Morey said. “He’s done it every year he’s been in the league. … At times the fit on our roster has been challenging for him and us. But I feel like [interim coach] J.B. [Bickerstaff] has been working through that.”
- Speaking of Bickerstaff, Morey, in the same interview, applauded the work the interim coach has done in guiding the Rockets, but was noncommittal about Bickerstaff’s future beyond this season. “When the season ends, we’re obviously going to have a tough decision,” Morey said. “And he’s very good – he’ll have a tough decision, too. How well he’s done has put a spotlight on him.”
- The Rockets are 17-13 under Bickerstaff and the 36-year-old is starting to feel more comfortable in his interim role, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune writes. “It’s not about me,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s about what’s best for those guys in that locker room. You have to put personal issues aside and go get a job done. It’s about being a teammate, sacrificing for others and doing things you might not normally do. Figuring out the job, leading a group of guys who have high expectations for themselves and getting the most out of them, that’s most important.”