The Houston Rockets tried to get something done at the trade deadline. The team was able to pull off a few minor moves, but their bigger pieces stayed put despite all of the rumors surrounding Dwight Howard, Ty Lawson and Trevor Ariza. The Rockets wanted the blockbuster deal and could not pull it off. Now both Howard and Lawson face doubt about their future in the coming months.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Rockets were requesting too much in a trade for Howard. There was interest from teams like the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics, but ultimately a deal could not be met. According to Stein, the Rockets were asking teams to pay the premium for the center meaning they wanted a first-round pick and stars in return for the center. According to Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, teams also wanted to make sure that Howard would opt into the final year of his contract and hold off on free agency.
"Not surprisingly, as the deadline approached, several teams called stating they had worked out the trade parameters with Houston for a Dwight deal but were not prepared to give up their assets unless Dwight agreed to opt into the last year of his contract and forego free agency. Dwight declined," Fegan said, via ESPN.com.
Howard has a $23.3 million option for next season, but he is expected to opt out and test the market. As a result, there is a good chance Houston lets him walk away for nothing in return. Howard could have a hard time getting that type of money in his next contract. According to USA Today, Howard will try to get a max deal in free agency, something no one deems him worth anymore. A deal that size would start at $31 million and considering Howard's age and injury history, he will not get that offer from Houston
Another player that could be out in free agency if not sooner is Lawson. According to Stein, the Rockets were trying to pull off a trade that sent the point guard to the Utah Jazz but it fell through. With no trade complete, Stein reports the Rockets are discussing the option of waiving Lawson and going with Patrick Beverley and Jason Terry as their point guard rotation for the remainder of the year.
Lawson is still a talent. He simply needs the right landing spot. If available, a team would easily pick him up to help with a second-half surge to the playoffs.