DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 19, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Thunder defeated the Nuggets 110-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Rockets won’t trade Dwight Howard, will chase Kevin Durant

The Houston Rockets plan to have their cake and eat it too this summer.

Contrary to reports that the Boston Celtics engaged Houston in trade talks involving center Dwight Howard, sources told on Wednesday that the Rockets are not looking to trade Howard before the Feb. 18 deadline even though he has the right to become a free agent on July 1.

Instead, they plan to form a Big Three with Howard, James Harden and Harden’s former teammate with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant. From ESPN’s Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins:

The Rockets’ grand plan, sources said this week, remains making an all-out pursuit in free agency this summer for Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant. Rockets officials have long believed privately that they will have as good a chance as any team to lure Durant away from the Thunder in the offseason because of his strong relationship with former teammate James Harden and the room Houston has to pay Durant max-contract money while also re-signing Howard.

Durant, who played his college ball for the Texas Longhorns, is preparing to become the hottest free agent this summer unless the Thunder are able to retain him. On Tuesday, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo’s The Vertical, the Golden State Warriors are frontrunners to sign Durant if he leaves the Thunder.

But it seems the Warriors will have competition for Durant from the Rockets and any number of teams believed to be courting him.

Marcelo Villa

About Marcelo Villa

Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.