The 2012 NBA Draft happens this week. On top of the usual subterfuge around the next group of rookies, a new round of trade talk involving Dwight Howard. Trade rumors circulating over the weekend have the Orlando Magic center in the middle of a complex trade with the Houston Rockets.
According to a report from ESPN, Houston is looking to swap their 14th and 16th picks to move up into one of the draft's top 10 spots. The Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors seem willing to oblige. That would be step one. After making that deal, Houston would make a move to acquire Howard from the Magic.
Step two might be the toughest part of that scenario, says ESPN.
Acquiring those early lottery picks, though, only represents half of Houston's challenge if Howard is indeed the Rockets' target. The other hurdle is convincing Hennigan, who hasn't even been on the job for a week in Central Florida, to part with Howard so quickly. As much as he's been schooled in building through the draft while working alongside Thunder GM Sam Presti, Hennigan could opt to take a more measured approach, make one more run at trying to convince Howard to sign an extension before entering the final year of his contract and then trade him later in the summer if those efforts go nowhere.
Houston might only be renting Howard for the season, since he has yet to sign a contract extension.