Insider: Rockets Making A Play For Howard

On Monday afternoon, it seemed like a potential three or four team deal sending Dwight Howard to Brooklyn was inevitable.

However, the deal never really made a lot of sense for the Magic. They’d simply be taking back late first round picks, a bunch of one-year contracts and a center who is coming off a major foot injury in Brook Lopez.

Despite those problems and all of the complications in the potential trade, the Nets remained the clear favorite to land Howard.

Over the past few hours, things may have changed.

According to Alex Kennedy of Hoops World, the Cleveland Cavaliers are “having second thoughts” and “may back out” of the deal.

Just a few hours ago, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Rockets were still trying to “entice the Orlando Magic to engage in talks.”

Early Tuesday morning, Sports Talk Florida learned the Houston Rockets are making a “hard push” to land Howard.

On Monday, the Rockets dealt Marcus Camby to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade, acquiring Toney Douglas, who has an expiring contract and Josh Harrellson, who has an unguaranteed deal this season. Jerome Jordan, who was also acquired by the Rockets, has the same deal as Harrellson. Unfortunately for the Magic, the Rockets have already dealt point guard Kyle Lowry, who has one of, if not, the best non-rookie contract in basketball, but they still have their three first round picks from this year in Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones. They have all stockpiled future draft picks and have the expiring contract of guard Kevin Martin.

They have the tools to make an enticing offer if they wish. How much they’re willing to give up for a rental is clearly the key question.

The Nets should still be considered the favorites, but it’s obviously far from the lock it appeared to be Monday.

(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)

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