It's pretty much been a disaster in Houston this year, making it no surprise that reports Dwight Howard is actively being shopped ahead of Thursday's trade deadline among the rumor mill's juiciest. And just to spice things up deep in the heart of Texas during this season of speculation, we learned that teammate James Harden tried to get Howard shipped out of town back in 2013. And vice versa.
The Houston Rockets are officially a soap opera.
In a report that's days old but somehow managed to fly under the radar, NBA.com's Fran Flinbury wrote last week that Howard and Harden have never really jelled since they joined forces three season ago and tried to work behind the scenes to make the other one go away.
For three seasons with Harden and Howard, the Rockets have lacked leadership on the court and are not seen by opponents as a team that works hard. Both want the perks and trappings of being the big dog pulling the wagon, but neither will do the real work. Howard smiles and says everybody should keep positive thoughts. Harden shrugs his head and goes back to seeking his next 40-point game.
Howard and Harden have been an oil-and-water mix since they came together for the 2012-13 season. It was only days after Damian Lillard's 3-point dagger eliminated them in the first round of their first playoff series together when both were sending out messages and maneuvering to get the other one traded.
Despite helping lead the Rockets to last season's Western Conference Finals, it increasingly appears their personalities and style of play aren't built for the long haul. Howard says he wants to stay in Houston, but he's not the same player he used to be and one of the biggest names reportedly on the trading block.
We know Harden absolutely isn't being shopped unless the Warriors all of the sudden want to dangle Steph Curry. Plus, Harden, one of the league's best scorers, is clearly the more valuable player with a much more attractive contract—he's signed for the next two seasons at $16 and $17 million while Howard is due to make $23 million next season in his final year under contract.
[h/t Pro Basketball Talk]
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