The Houston Rockets have no plans to trade center Dwight Howard before the Feb. 18 trade deadline, according to Calvin Watkins and Marc Stein of ESPN. Houston instead would like to re-sign Howard and make an “all-out pursuit” of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant this off-season, Watkins and Stein reported.
Durant’s close relationship with former teammate James Harden could help its case.
On Wednesday, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported The Boston Celtics and Rockets engaged in discussions about a trade involving Howard.
The eight-time All Star is averaging 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds in 31.9 minutes a game this season. However, the big man has dealt with knee and back issues in recent years.
Howard, 30, has also displayed recent frustration on the court, racking up technicals and being suspended one game for making contact with an official. He has been called for 12 technical fouls this season.
Howard has the option of becoming a free agent on July 1 and could leave the team without anything coming back in return. He hopes to stay in Houston for the remainder of this season before potentially opting out, Watkins and Stein reported.
The Rockets (26–25) are currently seventh in the Western Conference, while the Celtics (28–22) are fourth in the Eastern Conference.