Celtics, Rockets Talk Dwight Howard Trade

4:46pm: The Rockets have indeed engaged in trade talks with teams regarding Howard, but the asking price is reportedly very steep and Houston is not merely looking to dump him, Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports tweets.

2:55pm: The teams never really had a negotiation, multiple league sources told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, who explains that the trade proposal quickly died after a brief exchange. Still, the Rockets have made efforts to trade Howard, Bulpett hears.

10:37am: The talks aren’t expected to progress past the discussion phase, a league source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Blakely suggests the Celtics would have to include David Lee, plus additional players, draft assets, or both to make any Howard trade work. Boston has reportedly made Lee available and the Celtics and Lee’s representatives are cooperating as they explore trade options for him, Blakely adds.

7:58am: The Celtics have engaged the Rockets in trade talks about Dwight Howard, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports amid a larger piece. It’s unclear how receptive Houston has been to the idea of trading the former All-Star center or how aggressively Boston is pursuing him. The 30-year-old Howard has a player option worth more than $23.282MM for next season, but the Rockets reportedly expect him to turn it down, no surprise given that he’d be eligible for a maximum salary of a projected $29.3MM in free agency.

Howard has been relatively healthy this season after missing 41 games last year and has been regularly playing in back-to-backs after having been held out of them at the beginning of the season. Still, he’s averaging 14.4 points on 8.6 shots per game, his lowest numbers in either categories since he was a 19-year-old rookie in 2004/05. His 1.6 blocks per game are relatively low compared to the number of shots he swatted in years past, including a career-high 2.9 in 2008/09, but he’d still represent the sort of rim-protecting force the Celtics have lacked.

The Dan Fegan client, along with others on the Rockets, denied a report in December that he’s “extremely unhappy” with his role in Houston. Gauging his level of contentment in either Houston or with a would-be trade to Boston would undoubtedly be key if the trade discussions reach any advanced stage, since he can walk as a free agent at season’s end.

The Celtics and Rockets both have a surplus of point guards and power forwards, so it’s difficult to see how the sides could help each other in a swap. Still, Rockets GM Daryl Morey used to work under Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, so it’s not surprising to see them have a dialogue.

Where do you think Dwight Howard will be playing next season? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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38 thoughts on “Celtics, Rockets Talk Dwight Howard Trade

  1. Bbone34

    I don’t think there’s a chance this deal happens. The Celtics aren’t gonna come close to the Rockets asking price and I don’t think they should. A 30 year old center with major mileage on him and he’ll want 30mil for a few years.

    • J_empire

      Agree he doesn’t help the Celtics , old and often injured. Def not worth a nets pick . Lee and Sully for Howard and Jones

      • Chris Crouse

        Lee and Sully shouldn’t be enough for the Rockets. Does Avery Bradley entice Houston? He wouldn’t be a bad fir next to Harden.

        • Bbone34

          As a Celtics fan I wouldn’t give up Bradley in this deal. Taking on Howard’s contract is risk enough for me, I don’t wanna lose a good guard too.

  2. smittybanton

    With the store of picks the Celtics have, they are probably looking at Brook Lopez as an alternative.

  3. APatt

    This makes some sense for both teams. I can see Houston moving on from Howard, realizing that they can’t compete in the West and he is likely to opt out, not thinking he has value of a Max player moving forward and capitalizing on him as an asset now, and Boston needing a low post scorer who would be more effective on a team of perimeter shooters and a collapsing guard without marrying to him long term. The problem is that, while Boston might have the draft assets to offer Houston that would be intriguing, there isn’t in any way a match up on player personnel. I guess it would take a 3rd team to facilitate this deal, but the only one that even maybe comes to mind would be Atlanta although I doubt they help Boston become the solid #2 in the East, and what does Houston want with a Horford rental (redundancy)? Who could hop into this and facilitate this deal?

  4. Chris Crouse

    I can envision Dwight playing for the Mavs next season. He would be a good basketball fit there.

  5. Carlos

    Maybe D Orlando Magic, so they keep him on D Bench, THE Magics FANS will enjoy that

    • AndreasYe

      That is literally one of the worst trades I have ever seen, lol. Thomas is an all-star PG and Crowder is one of the best two-way SF’s in the league and he’s only getting better. Celtics would not trade two young, elite players for two washed-up players whose best days are behind them. Celtics would be giving up WAY too much. Smart, Crowder, Thomas, and the Brookyln picks aren’t going anywhere unless the trade involves Demarcus Cousins.

      • victor

        so dwight howard isnt the 3rd best center in the league ? and boston would still have all its picks and i think that a lineup with
        howard,sully,ariza,turner,smart would put you into the east finals imho .. also you would be getting something for lee who seems to have become a cancer in your locker room. what is a fair trade in your opinon for howard from the celtics ?

        • I’d take Anthony Davis, Demarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whiteside, and Karl-Anthony Towns over Dwight any day of the week. He’s not a top 3 center anymore.

          • victor

            your reaching on jordan, and davis is more a power foward ? and by same token .. crowder or thomas is hardly a top 10 at their spot … so i fail to see how my trade suggestion was the worst ever as some have suggested..

    • garrett_siltz

      That would be a horrible trade Isaiah and Jae are probably the two most important players on the team and kelly is a good scorer off the bench if they did that trade they would lose a lot of important pieces

    • steve

      Your not taking into consideration the contracts. Dwight is injury prone, and most importantly only under contract this season, and almost assured to decline his player option for next year. If this was last year your proposed trade would be a starting point, but this is no longer the case. As a celtics fan, I am willing to say that many fans overrate a guy like Crowder (he definitely is not “elite” at least not yet), however the same can definitely be said about Huston’s value of Dwight Howard. As it stands there is no way the celtics would make that trade, and no team is going to offer one of similar value either. In the end it comes down to whether the Rockets want to hang on to Howard and risk losing him for nothing, or simply get what they can for him now. The point has long passed where you can expect equivalent value in return for him, and if they do intend to move him they are not dealing from a position of strength. If I was the celtics I’d offer Lee, Sully, and the Mavs Pick (Maybe throw in Hunter or Young) and thats a lot to give up for a half season rental.

  6. Steve in Chicago

    I think Ainge should be calling Hinkie. He needs a point guard and Philly has a Noel they can’t use, and would love the Nets pick. Only problem is they would strengthen a conference rival, but that would also go two ways, Celtics would be better too.

    • Lol Bradley/Smart/Rozier (take your pick of the aforementioned “point” guards) plus the Nets pick is worth more than Noel. If the 76ers wanted Thomas (not that Boston would give him up) then Philly would need to send back way more value.

      • Grant Weddle

        Rozier couldn’t lace Noel’s shoes and I would argue Noel is better than Smart. Plus a proven talent is worth more than a pick in my eyes so you could go either way on that one. Regardless Noel for Smart is a win win and both teams have spare assets to throw in to entice the other if they’re hesitant. It just makes too much sense

    • smittybanton

      Fair deal in the abstract.

      Problem is, Sixers have three or four first round picks this year, depending on whether the Lakers pick vests (top 3 protected). Plus they presumably have Dario Saric and Joel Embiid joining the team next year. That’s already five or six players to add next year, and that’s without signing any free agents with their $60M in cap space.

      Which means, Sixers don’t have any reason to make a move immediately, despite the media narrative that they have to move a center. Embiid is not guaranteed to be healthy. And a very good team needs two centers. As the rest of Philly’s roster fills out, it will make more sense to have Okafor (offense) and Noel (defense). Moreover, if Hinkie’s past with the Rockets is to be considered, he’s more likely to combine the Sixers assets to move on a superstar sometime in the future. The Sixers need to wait to see whether the team that gets #2 in the draft would prefer Okafor/Noel/Saric (plus picks?) over Brandon Ingram. On top of all of that, an inseason move that makes the Sixers better hurts their chances at getting Ben Simmons. On the tippy-tippy top of that, Hinkie’s already under restrictions and would really have to win a trade of a good player, especially the longest tenured member of The Process who is putting up spectacular numbers now that Ish Smith is back. Plus, eff Boston! Lol.

      The Celtics, on the other hand, need a rim protector for this year’s playoffs. Their alternatives are $20+M injury riddled declining vets like Howard and Brook Lopez. The Nets pick is also not going to get a dope rim protector in this year’s draft, unless you think Jakob Poeltl is that dude.

      So, if they’re going to make a deal with the Sixers at the trade deadline, they’ll probably have to ‘overpay’ for Okafor, instead of Noel. That’s Hinkie’s trade history. For Hinkie to deviate from the plan, I’d bet $.37 his counter offer is something like Okafor for Nets pick & Marcus Smart.

      Personally, I think Brook Lopez makes the most sense. Probably only takes BOS16 and MEM16 to get him. Have a nice playoff run. Then use BKN16 on somebody like Henry Ellenson.

  7. Houston! Boston like every other team is just TALKING / all teams have dialogue about players and possabilities every year especially around the trade deadline. Besides Dwight even with his health concerns at 30 is a far more dominant and superior talent than anyone on Boston’s roster period !! Non- story

    • victor

      @ marc i could not agree more which is why the only way i think it happens is if the celtics put thomas and crowder in the deal and lee has the cap filler.
      if i was morey i would be scared to death of commiting long term to dwight but i would also be scared of letting one of the last legit centers walk for nothing.

      • Thomas and Crowder have much more value combined than Howard. Howard WAS good and USED to be a top center. On an expiring contract (assuming he opts out), two good, young players with control is not worth a washed up Howard. The best way to think if a trade is fair is to flip the script and say would Houston/fans(like yourself, i assume your a houston fan) give up Thomas and Crowder for Howard. If the answer is no, then its probably not a fair/good trade.

  8. Daniel

    I don’t see Howard going to Boston he might as well go to Orlando where he started his career and finish there

    • Longwood Bob

      Howard is probably the most despised athlete in central florida…burned the franchise down on his way out the door…never happen

      • victor

        orlando went from hating shaq to hating t-mac to hating dwight .. whos next ?

  9. alexmiller6677

    Phew. If Ainge did that one, he should be tarred, feathered, and banned from basketball for life.

  10. steve

    I would rather see them make a move for Gallinari, his versatility and shooting fits Stevens system really well. Howard would deffinetly offer the Celtics something they are lacking (Inside Scoring, Rebounding, Shot Blocking) but he only has half a year left of control, since he will almost certainly decline his option for next year. They likely value him much more then the Celtics (and everyone else in the league for that matter) and I cant really see a deal working out since the Pieces the Celtics would like to move (PF Sullinger, Lee, Zeller or Guards Rozier, Young, Hunter, Turner)play positions where Huston is already deep at. A rebuilding team like the nuggets would be more enticed by young players and picks then Huston (although Huston may be enticed by expiring deals like Lee since they will likely want to be players in FA). I would ship out Sully, Nick Young and the Minnesota Pick for Gallinari as a starter and then likely settle if they demanded the pick be a garaunteed 1st rounder (meaning the Celtics or the Mavs Pick). You could then have Gallinari for the next two years and have him and Crowder be able to switch between the 3/4 spots, since we all know how much Stevens loves Switching.

  11. fmfish12

    I really really don’t want this deal to happen. Howard is past his prime, and the Celtics would only have him for the rest of this season, before he walks in free agency.

  12. daytonastang

    Some of these proposals are ridiculous First off I am a Celtic Fan and I know Ainge won’t agree on any trade for Howard without being able to talk to him first and get some kind of agreement from him to at least stay until next year thus allowing him to understand what it means to be a Celtic as any player who ever put on a Celtic uniform will tell you it is THE BEST place to play. Otherwise any deal is off, end of story. With that being said Ainge has to make a move just as the Rockets do as the Celtics have 15 players and 7 draft picks this year.But he won’t just throw them away. The Rockets need to move Howard cause they would be stupid to just lose him. So the Celtics do have the advantage cause they have many more options than the Rockets do. I could see the Celtics offering Zeller, Sullinger, and possibly another player not (Smart, Bradley, Crowder, or even Thomas) plus their own first round pick and a second round or 2 but NOBODY will be getting the Brooklyn pick AllHouston fans will not like this but no other team would offer a better offer than this I garauntee it. The Celtics would be taking all the risk as Howard could then walk after a year and or have to over pay him there after. With all that being said I would take a run at Rhondo in free agency . By the way I would only do this keeping in mind that I would be trying to entice someone like Kevin Durant to sign on the dotted line as this move would make the Celtics the second best team in the east and adding Durant would definitely make them a major player for a championship. By the way all Celtics fans need to tone down their love for Thomas as if you watch every game like I do you should be sick of his 4 for 14 or 7 for 17 shooting nights and I cringe at the sight of him driving to the basket with less than 2 minutes to play after having lost a 20 point lead and turning the ball over

  13. I think other posters are correct … Houston realizes they’re hopes for this year are shot and are looking to re-tool. With the surplus of draft picks Boston has, it makes sense. As far as potential deals, I see two options:

    (A) Boston pairs David Lee ($15.5M) and Avery Bradley ($7.7M) + pick to nab Howard ($22.4M). I personally wouldn’t give up Bradley, but you have to give up value to get value. A more likely scenario I see is Option B.

    (B) Celtics trade Lee ($15.5M) and Amir Johnson ($12M) + multiple draft picks for Howard ($22.4M) and KJ McDaniels ($3.2M) to make salaries match.

    I think Boston realizes that they’re not going to be able to utilize all those picks they have with the youth they have on their roster, so at some point, you’ve got to convert those into trades.

    Some have asked why would Boston want Howard for a 1 year rental, if he opts out. I think the answer is that Boston would have to commit themselves to the idea that Howard is worth a max deal. Because if he is a part of their roster at the end of the year and Howard opts out, Boston could outbid everyone else to retain his services on a max contract.

    It’s risky, but if Boston could get away with Option B, you gotta figure … they’re going to buyout Lee anyway. They have plenty of frontcourt depth where Amir is expendable. They would lose draft picks, but they’ve got a ton to deal from anyway, so it could be a great gamble, especially with a coach like Brad Stevens who could probably figure out a way to make Howard happier.

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