Sheridan: Dwight Howard Unhappy in Houston; Headed to Miami?

SheridanheDwight Howard is extremely unhappy in Houston playing second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden, multiple league sources tell And with the Rockets underachieving more than any NBA team, look for them to try to move Howard later this season.

And the destination that makes the most sense is Miami in a trade centered around Hassan Whiteside.

Howard-HeatIt makes so much sense, in fact, that I will go so far as to predict that Howard will be wearing a Miami Heat uniform by the end of February.

This prediction is based upon the fact that the Heat, as colleague Michael Scotto is reporting today, are trying to get the Sacramento Kings to part with DeMarcus Cousins, offering a  package of Whiteside, rookie Justise Winslow and cap filler to make the salaries match. Chicago and Boston also are actively making offers for Cousins.

Problem is, the Kings are not inclined to move Boogie (although they were on draft night, when a deal with the Lakers for D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and a low first-rounder) would have gotten it done — if the Lakers had said “yes,” which they didn’t).

And if the Kings hold firm to that stance, Heat president Pat Riley is going to try to turn Whiteside into the best available center he can find. Not only does Howard fit that bill, he also would be placed back in position to be an alpha dog for the first time since he left the Sunshone State after the 2011-12 season in a trade that sent him to the Lakers, where he was immediately at odds with Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant and Dwight HowardHoward, of course, has since moved on to Houston, where in Year 3 he is averaging a paltry 8.3 shots per game in an offense built around the ball-dominating James Harden, whose propensity to break out of the offense makes Kobe look timid by comparison.

Howard is averaging 13.0 points (his lowest since averaging 12.0 in his rookie year) and 12 rebounds. Through Monday night’s games, he had attempted only 158 shots in 25 games — the sixth-highest total on the team behind Harden (507), Trevor Ariza (252), Marcus Thornton (236), Corey Brewer (185) and Terrence Jones (176), and only four more attempts than the seldom-used Ty Lawson (154).

So this makes Dwight the sixth option.

And Mr. Sixth Option also happens to have an option year on his contract next season for $23 million and change. Would he walk away from that kind of guaranted money to hit the free agent market? Of course he would. With the salary cap jumping to $90 million next season, two-thirds of the league will be able to offer him a max deal.

But the flip side is that Howard is 30 and is a shell of the player he was in Orlando. That is the result of deterioration – or not being the go-to player on offense. Probably more of the latter than the former.

Which is where Miami comes in.

Whiteside1First of all, unless the Heat renounce their rights to Dwyane Wade, NBA salary cap rules will preclude them from offering Whiteside his full market value. Miami would be able to offer between $8-9 million, which is at least half of what the kid can get on the open market. On a full max deal, Whiteside would be looking at a $90 million payday, and nobody walks away from a $90 million payday.

So he’s a goner, one way or another. And the Heat know it.

The solution? Trade him while you can still trade him for something of value. And no place would be a better fit for Howard than Miami, with its geriatric roster built around Wade and Chris Bosh. If you are Riley, and your two best players are in their 30s, why not add a third 30-something and take a swing at Cleveland with that?

It not only is plausible, it is reasonable.

Here is what the deal might look like in the trusty NBA trade machine:


Or, it could look like this:


Here’s more on trade possibilities involving Howard, Whiteside and Cousins in this video with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.

Bottom line: The Rockets are at risk of losing Howard for nothing. Same goes for the Heat with Whiteside. If they make a deal, both teams will have their centers of the future.

Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter.


  1. David says

    Don’t get all emotional about Howard n whiteside trades everyone have to just understand sports is just a business…. Rockets are going to lose Howard for nothing he’s going to opt out of his contract this summer. The Heat are going to lose whiteside because we all know he’s not going to accept 8.57million a year because he’s know what he is worth for a player like him to blocks all those shots and grabbing those rebound deserves a max contract and the rockets are able to give him a max contract of 90million for 5years if you were whiteside which contract would u accept???? Sure Howard is getting old but he still got some game left in him and whiteside is young and getting better but just remember this is a business….

  2. Geritol says

    FYI, Sheridan deletes comments he doesn’t like. This will be gone in a matter of minutes or hours but I’ll come back and make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed.

  3. clifford Williams says

    I’m a Miami fan don’t agree with the trade at all D Howard wash up on his way out stay injured all the time Whiteside up and coming to be the best center in the Game since shaq if pat riley trade him is a fool

    • Mike says

      Are you playing “Let’s make stuff up”?

      Where did you get this idea that the Heat can’t pay Whiteside a max contract of something close to that? The Heat have plenty of cap space next season and could easily trade McRoberts to create more space and even Dragic if the situation was right.

      The problem the Heat have is that they’d like to add another key piece to the core of Bosh, Whiteside, Wade, Dragic… And, by paying Whiteside big bucks they can’t add much more than a mid level guy or two.

      That same problem would exist with Howard’s HUGE contract except you’d have an older and slower version of Whiteside. So, sorry, this has zero validity.

      Now, Boogie? OK, the Heat do that in a second.

    • M says

      Dwight Howard definitely not a fit in Miami…doesn’t have the intensity to play for the Heat plus has a history of being a distraction. Looks like a player in decline.

      Cousins a better fit but do the Heat really need a player who’s not as good as Whiteside defensively and averages 20 FGAs a game at 42% FG rate? Also, a potential distraction.

      Whiteside is the best fit for Miami plus he has more upside. As far as not keeping him, remember that Miami’s cap situation is pretty fluid next year. Will the Heat lose players next year? Absolutely, but if you play it out, there is a path forward to keep Whiteside. Then, there’s also the Wade wildcard scenario…would he take less again?

      Plus trading Winslow, a player with clear All NBA potential down the road who’s already contributed significantly?

      Essentially you would be trading your future core to add age (Howard) to an already aging team. As scripted, it’s definitely not a go for Howard and a long shot for Cousins.

  4. Pepe305 says

    This article is a lame attempt at creativity. First of all the season so far is a success for Miami, they are not going to change anything. Second of all, Howard is loathed in Miami and it would be a public relations shot in the face of Miami fans to replace the story of the kid that came from nowhere with Howard the clown. Thirdly, Howard would not mesh with Wade and Bosh. Fourthly, Winslow is staying in the 305 for a long long time. Another under estimation of Pat Riley I say, but you needed some Xmas clicks so you wrote this anyways right. You even took the time to photoshop Howard in a Heat uniform, just to stir up the shite! shees…

  5. Ed Burns says

    Do you spend all day running things through the trade machine or something?

    Pat Riley isn’t stupid enough to give up Whiteside for Dwight Howard straight-up, and they certainly wouldn’t offer up Winslow alongside him. Just because salaries match up doesn’t mean you should go around creating unsubstantiated rumors.

  6. Mike O says

    As a Rocket fan I agree. It’s time to let DH go. He won’t be happy anywhere he goes, might as well let some other team deal with him. In order to be a star you have to play and act like one, the great BIGS in this league demanded the ball no matter who they had, got the job done and kept on getting rewarded. Shaq, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing all had great players, acknowledged that, but also knew when they get the ball, they have to do something with it and they did. The Rockets getting back Whiteside, Winslow and Deng works perfect. Not only do you have a rim protector (that you need), you have guys either in their prime and and guys for the future for a reasonable price. Which also enables them to play small ball which the NBA is leading to.

    • WhitesideAverages4BlocksAGame says

      Why the Hell would anyone trade a young athletic 7 footer with a 7’7 wingspan for Dwight Howard straight up, let alone give away miami’s top 2 perimeter defenders?

  7. J.B. says

    If they trade Whiteside and Winslow, they are fools! In my humble opinion, they should try to build a team around those guys for the future. Dwight Howard is never happy no matter where he goes. His biggest mistake was leaving Orlando. He hasn’t been the same since then.

  8. Jonathan says

    This is the dumbest trade. You DO NOT TRADE 2 KEY PLAYERS (Stepping into prime Whiteside and Luol Deng) for Dwight who is on the move of going downhill, which WILL start next year and a 38 yr old Jason Terry and M Harrell, really?. And especially not Justise Winslow since he is starting to look good at his position. This trade is so disproportionate it cant work.

    If you think they’re going to trade
    prime Whiteside
    good/needed Luol Deng
    talented young Justise Winslow
    (dont care about Anderson)


    ageing/slowing down Dwight
    unstable rookie M Harrell
    and 38 yr old Jason Terry

    you’re dreaming. You have no idea how to trade.

    • HeatLifer says

      You do understand that this is plausible as we cannot afford to pay Whiteside in the off season and can walk away for nothing? Thats why this deal when you take the emotion out of it makes sense.
      So if we get Howard or Cousins why not?
      Deng has to be moved if you want a stud on big money back as he has 10m against his name, I would be disappointed if Winslow went… that leaves
      McRob, Deng, Whiteside and Anderson as the contracts worth moving


  1. […] According to’s Marc Stein, the Rockets are reportedly shopping Howard, but the New York Daily News‘ Frank Isola puts the odds of the 30-year-old being moved at “50-50”. Howard’s injury history and eagerness to opt out after the season makes him a tough sell for potential suitors. However, that hasn’t stopped D12 from being the subject of trade rumors. The latest speculation is Howard might be headed to the Miami Heat in exchange for young center Hassan Whiteside, a move first mentioned in December by Chris Sheridan. […]

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