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Rockets Plan to Re-Sign Howard, Pursue Kevin Durant in Summer

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The Rockets hope to lure 2014 MVP Kevin Durant in free agency.

The Rockets hope to lure 2014 MVP Kevin Durant in free agency.

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The Rockets hope to lure 2014 MVP Kevin Durant in free agency.

Sahil Bhutani, Online Editor

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As the Rockets continue their underachieving season, sitting at ninth place in the Western Conference following a second place finish and Western Conference Finals appearance last year, rumors have swirled about regarding Dwight Howard’s future with the team. Now, ESPN’s Calvin Watkins and Marc Stein report that Houston does not intend to trade Howard before the February 18 trade deadline. In addition, they say that Houston plans to make an “all-out pursuit” of Kevin Durant this summer.

Howard has the right to become a free agent on July 1. This means that, should he sign elsewhere, the Rockets could lose Howard for nothing in return. Speculatively, the Rockets will most likely not offer Howard max money, considering his age, injuries, and their plan to form a Harden-Howard-Durant trio. The hope is that Howard will agree to less money if he believes he can win a championship in Houston.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s planned pursuit of Durant comes as no surprise. Morey has always swung for the fences in free agency, pursuing the likes of Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony in past years. However, he plays a dangerous game by pursuing Durant this summer. Should Durant decide to stay in Oklahoma City or leave for another team, Morey runs the risk of passing up on other great free agent additions, such as Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley or Hawks power forward Al Horford. If Morey strikes out on Durant, he better have another batter on deck.

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