Since a potential blockbuster deal to send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets collapsed, the Houston Rockets have emerged as the new front runners in the derby to trade for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Now they're reportedly upping their offer to Orlando according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets, should they go ahead with their widely reported plans to release starting power forward Luis Scola via the NBA's amnesty clause, are prepared to absorb the contracts of Jason Richardson, Glen Davis and Chris Duhon -- in addition to sending Orlando multiple future first-round picks and recent draftees -- to give the Magic an opportunity to wipe their payroll virtually clean for their post-Howard rebuilding effort.
With the impending departure of the six-time All-Star, the Magic will be almost certainly be placed in a position where a complete rebuild is necessary. The removal of large contracts and the addition of future draft picks are the perfect tools for new general manager Rob Hennigan to work with and will likely make the trade increasingly attractive.
ESPN's J.A. Adande and Ric Bucher both said they expect the Magic to be quiet about Howard over the weekend before revisiting the trade prospects next week, which would allow the Rockets to deal with some free agency issues like Jeremy Lin.
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