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Rockets pursuing Josh Smith to pair with Dwight Howard

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Could Dwight Howard and Josh Smith team up in Houston?    (USATSI)
Could Dwight Howard and Josh Smith team up in Houston? (USATSI)

Lakers free agent center Dwight Howard reportedly asked the Rockets during their meeting with him if and how they could get another max free agent to go wth him and James Harden if he signs with Houston. Now Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Rockets have immediately moved to add Josh Smith alongside Howard to convince him to sign.

League sources told CBSSports.com on Tuesday night that the Rockets acted quickly on Howard's desire to bring another star to Houston with him and have begun their pursuit of Smith, the Hawks' free agent forward and Howard's former AAU teammate in Atlanta, in a sign-and-trade arrangement.

The move is yet another sign that the Rockets feel strongly they're in position to land Howard. Berger reported earlier this week that the Rockets were exploring trades for Jeremy Lin and/or Omer Asik to clear space for such a deal. The Rockets already cleaned house, including waiving Aaron Brooks and Carlos Delfino to make room for a max offer to Howard.

Smith and Howard are friends from their AAU days and would make for a pretty fearsome frontcourt. Smith's versatility and athleticism combined with Howard' size and power would certainly work well with Harden's perimeter ability, if Smith can constrain his impulses to launch from the perimeter.

Even that might not be a problem in the Rockets' three-point-friendly offense.

Is Smith enough to push Howard over the top when it comes to deciding his future team? The Laker and Mavericks finished up the last appointments for Howard, who now will reportedly take a few days to deliberate on the matter. Meanwhile, the Rockets will try and line up a potential deal to move for Smith in case Howard asks about it, while not going through with the agreement as to avoid locking themselves into Smith in the event they don't get Howard.

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