Dwight Howard is not the only free-agent Los Angeles superstar the Houston Rockets plan on pursuing this summer.
Houston is planning a simultaneous pursuit of Clippers point guard Chris Paul and is working to create enough cap space to pull off the coup, according to The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
"They are targets No. 1 and 1A," a source told Feigen.
While Howard has expressed interest in playing for Rockets head coach Kevin McHale, has spoken with Rockets starters James Harden and Chandler Parsons, and would be open to accepting the max four-year deal as opposed to the Lakers' five-year max, wooing Paul appears to be a bigger challenge.
The team's best option to create cap space is trading 22-year-old power forward Thomas Robinson, acquired from the Sacramento Kings in a February deal, but a source told Feigen "there are about 20 other ways" to create enough room.
Houston could pay Howard $20.5 million and Paul $18.7 million in their first seasons to make the moves work.
From the report:
But the Rockets hope to wait to see if they need the cap room before making that kind of move because if they cannot land a major free agent they would want to keep Robinson for his potential. There are 16 teams with the cap room, trade exception or sufficient non-guaranteed contracts to trade for Robinson or equivalent contracts without sending the Rockets back any cap-occupying contracts.The Atlanta Hawks are also attempting to land both Howard and Paul, but may face tampering charges.
But several teams have indicated they are likely to be more open to a deal prior to the June 27 draft, especially if involving Robinson; the Rockets would prefer to make a move if necessary during free agency in July.
The moves to clear the rest of the cap space needed have long been planned with their veterans.