All I want for Christmas is, well, actually, let me re-phrase that. All I don’t want for Christmas is Dwight Howard in a Boston Celtics uniform.
With the NBA trade deadline less than two months away, rumors around the league are heating up, and wacky imaginations are beginning to stir the pot even more.
What’s not wacky is the idea that the Houston Rockets will try to trade Howard before Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.
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The 30-year-old center can opt out of his current contract at the end of this season. He has a $23 million player option for next year. If rumors of Howard being unhappy in Houston are true, it makes all the sense in the world for the Rockets to try and get something for him now.
In the last few weeks, I’ve already heard and read rumors that include “Howard” and “Celtics” in the same sentence. And to be quite honest, that makes me sick to my stomach.
I know what you’re saying. “They’re only rumors. There’s no truth to that.” And you may be right on the money. But we all know that Danny Ainge is going to try and add a big-name player to this Celtics roster in the next month-and-a-half. And if he’s able to pull something off, it may happen sooner rather than later.
Ainge is on-the-record saying he wants to add an elite go-to scorer who, ideally, would be a big. And if Howard is available, and Ainge wants a big, then you’ll most likely hear about this trade possibility again in the rumor mill.
But I’m here to jump all over this one before it picks up any steam: Keep Howard out of Boston.
All things considered, I’m in agreement with Ainge. The Celtics need an elite go-to scorer who they can rely upon on a nightly basis. And if you want that player to be in the form of a power forward/center, then be my guest. Just make sure it’s DeMarcus Cousins, not Howard.
By now, you know how I feel about Cousins. I want him in a Celtics uniform. I’d even be willing to give up the Brooklyn pick. Immaturity can be fixed over time. But I’m also convinced that Cousins’ biggest issue is the losing environment he’s been a part of in Sacramento since he came into the league in 2010.
Cousins wants to win. Howard? I don’t get that from him. You never think of the word “competitor” when discussing Howard.
Sure, he’s an eight-time All-Star. And he is built like a machine. At 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, there’s no reason why Howard shouldn’t be the most dominant big man in the league. But that’s just not the case.
And really, it all comes back to his attitude. The way I’ve always felt about Howard is simple. When the going gets tough, Howard isn’t a guy you want on your side. Just ask former Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who was fired last month after the team got off to a 4-7 start.
McHale said his team had “effort” issues. Funny he said that. In his final game as coach, the Rockets lost to the Celtics in Houston. Howard had only five points in 30 minutes.
Safe to say that Ainge would be giving McHale a call before the Celtics signed off on any blockbuster trade to acquire Howard. Also safe to say that McHale wouldn’t be giving a glowing recommendation for an unhappy player who’s averaging just 13 points a game this season, his lowest average since his rookie year.
So while it seems highly unrealistic, you’re bound to hear about this rumor again. Just know that, this holiday season, I’ll be hoping Howard never wears green.