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Dwight Howard signing just the beginning for Rockets

Jul 5, 2013, 6:37 PM EDT

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Darryl Morey has done the hardest job, getting Dwight Howard to sign with the Rockets.

Now the Houston general manager has even more moves ahead.

The Rockets don’t have cap room to give Howard a max contract, so Morey must either convince Howard to take less money, arrange a sign-and-trade with the Lakers or change his roster.

Houston can waive Greg Smith, Patrick Beverley,Tim Ohlbrecht and James Anderson without a cap hit, and Ohlbrecht and Anderson seem destined to that fate. But Smith and Beverley are good players who don’t deserve to simply be cut.

Though he drew more attention for injuring Russell Westbrook, Beverly helped the Rockets successfully go small against the Thunder in their first-round playoff series. Beverly is a solid 3-pointer shooter and finisher at the rim, and his athleticism makes him an intriguing defender.

Smith has been very effective at every stop, starting with the D-League and extremely limited minutes with Houston two seasons ago. As a member of the Rockets’ regular rotation last season, he continued to fill his role well. He has a good frame for a power forward, and he rebounds like it. He deserves a chance to take more responsibility next year.

Beverley and Smith also stand out because they’re on minimum contracts, boosting their trade value even further.

Morey would certainly waive those two if that’s what it took to get Howard, but smart teams know that and will be calling Morey right now, first offering their congratulations and then trying to poach Beverley and/or Smith. Obviously, Houston would rather get a protected second rounder in return rather than losing either with no return.

But that alone wouldn’t clear room for Howard to get a max contract.

The Rockets could use the stretch provision on Royce White, and that along with losing the four unguaranteed contracts would do the trick, but trading White, Terrence Jonesand/or Donatas Motiejunas might be more appealing. Trading any one of the three without taking back salary would also work as the final piece of max-contract puzzle.

White’s trade value might have bottomed out at zero, but Jones and Motiejunas were recently first-round picks who at least showed flashes during their rookie years last season. I’d think either could get a second-round pick.

Houston could also look at bigger offers – a sign-and-trade, deals involving Jeremy Lin and/or Omer Aisk (and maybe Josh Smith), etc. But Morey will probably start small to make sure his ducks are in a row, ensuring Howard signs on the dotted line without complication.

  1. melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Theyll sign and trade Asik for J-Smooth. Id say they have a plan for Dwight since he already agreed to sign there. Houston is doing what Dallas cant. Using cap space

  2. biasedhomer - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Rumor also has it Josh Smith sign and trade to the Rockets. No idea how they are going to make both of these moves work with out gutting the roster of everyone but Harden.

    • melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      Dwight takes less. Sign and trade Asik for Smith.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        Dwight doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who will take less than the max.

      • melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        Me either. Gutting time.

      • melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        Hou just traded Royce White toPhilly just like hat theres Dwightsmoney.

      • 6thsense79 - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Dwight got too many baby mamas to take less.

    • danielcp0303 - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      It’s easy, a sign and trade with Josh Smith. If the Rockets send out Asik + let’s say T Jones, they can take back about 14 million dollars (after they sign Dwight)

    • patfic15 - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Smith just doesn’t seem necessary at all for this to work.

  3. tomshoe - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    What they should do is try and get some kind of sign and trade going with the Lakers. In my opinion, for Dwight, I think the Lakers could get Lin, Asik, and some filler in exchange.

    Jeremy Lin and Kobe on one team. The fun that’s going to be LakerLand next season…

    • biasedhomer - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Lakers don’t need Lin, they have Nash.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        That was supposed to be funny, right?

    • melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Lin sucks. Hell make $15 million in the 14/15 season. LA wont do that.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 6, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      Tom did someone hit you with a shoe, don’t try to dump Lin and his ridiculous
      contract and other scrubs on the premiere franchise of the NBA, don’t need
      your help you worry about building out your team.
      I wish you luck with Howard, you will need it.

  4. mcjon22 - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    The new Mascot of the Houston Rockets;

    The Charmin Snuggle Bear

  5. htownred34 - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Beverley and Greg smith will probably stay, I think Lin or asik should be moved along with royce white.

  6. indyspeedo - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    The player formerly of Orlando ( because he wanted out…..wanted to stay….wanted out) is now also in my book also tge player formerly from the Lakers now becomes Kevin McHales nightmare. As a fan of Rick Carlise I’m glad he didn’t go to Dallas to spread his cancer in that locker room to. When in the world will these teams stop dining him. Maybe Houston should go to Wisconsin and by some stock in some cheese to go with all of his WHINING!!!!

  7. itsonlyaspeedbump - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Howard in Orlando: ‘I need another star! Trade me!’

    Howard in LA: ‘I need another star! But not Kobe! I’m leaving!

    Howard in Houston: I need a 3rd star! But Im not taking less money to make it work. Find me a 3rd star or I change my mind!

  8. losanginsight - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Finally this clown has left LA and the burden of having to win Rings. The Lakeshow will be back in 2014. Now the Rockets can be the 4-5 seed they have always wanted to be.

  9. JHathwell - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    This is a very complicated. From what I can discern it’s an either/or scenario. For the Rockets, a S & T trade with the lakers wouldn’t leave them with enough money to sign Josh Smith, and a S & T for Smith would mean they couldn’t get Howard his full max.

    I could be wrong about this but from where I’m sitting it looks like they have to choose between getting Dwight the full 118 million or Dwight getting 88 million AND Josh smith to play with.

  10. Chris Ross - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Daryl Morey is awesome. Dwight Howard will make this team better. It’s not going to be easy but this was probably the right choice if he wants to win. What a crazy time. Gonna be real interesting to see how another season of great NBA storylines develops.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/executive-of-the-year/

  11. money2long - Jul 5, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    dwight is lucky kobe may not have enuff games under his belt to make it to the all star game next season…(unless guys still vote him in) cause can you guys imagine those two starting on the same all star team? awkward.

    • melkipershero - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Not really. Kobe seems like he wouldnt hold grudges.

      /sarcasm

  12. spankygreen - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Great Move for D.Howard…..D’Antoni was not a good coach for him……

  13. spankygreen - Jul 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    for all of you who mock Mr Howard about reserving the right to change his mind, then to he ll with you. I’m sure none of you have ever recanted….If you have not, that’s called in laymans terms…”stuck on stupid”

  14. michaelscarn25 - Jul 5, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Howard hasn’t signed with Houston yet and his camp is denying that he’s decided. Beyond the jokes about his indecision, I don’t think you can start writing articles like this that refer to Dwight joining as if it’s already happened. Would anyone be at all surprised if it came out later tonight that he’s resigning with LA?

  15. sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    No room? Royce White is gone and they are working on getting rid of Asik.

    And now… Dwight says it’s 50 – 50 between Houston and LA.

    He hasn’t yet made up his mind.

    He might not be going to Houston. What’s this talk of no room? This is Dwight we’re talking about. Has his signature been seen on the dotted line? Of course not, he can’t until the 10th.

    Gotta see a signature on a contract with this fool.

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