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Celtics Reportedly Talking With Rockets About Dwight Howard Trade

BOSTON (CBS) --The Boston Celtics are expected to be a busy team at the NBA's trade deadline, which is just over two weeks away.

The trade winds are starting to pick up, with the Celtics reportedly chatting with the Houston Rockets about a potential swap for center Dwight Howard.

From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Meanwhile, the Celtics have engaged the Houston Rockets in talks about a possible deal for Dwight Howard, the Daily News has learned. Howard can opt out of his contract this summer, and considering his back and knee issues, it doesn't make much sense for Boston GM Danny Ainge to use the assets on a player with declining skills and a battered body.

That nugget of rumor mill goodness was buried in Isola's column about the Knicks' needs at the deadline, but will undoubtedly stir up a barrage of emotions from Celtics fans.

Howard, 30, is averaging 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for Houston this season, who currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference. There's little chance they can compete with the Warriors and Spurs in the West, so it makes sense for them to want to part ways with Howard, who can become a free agent after this season.

The Celtics certainly have the assets, from their barrage of draft picks and the expiring contract of David Lee, to make a deal for Howard. But then there's the question of why a team that is currently tied for third in the Eastern Conference would want to bring in an injury-prone player with a big ego who is known for disappearing in the postseason (despite his 19.5 points/14.1 rebounds per game average)?

If Houston is sick of Howard's act and is desperate to move on, the Celtics may be able to pry Howard at a fairly low cost (Lee's contract and a first-round pick -- other than Brooklyn's likely Top 3 selection?). While some C's fans are probably experiencing stomach pains after hearing the rumor, it may not be as terrible as they think. In acquiring Howard for the rest of the season, it would allow Ainge, Brad Stevens and company to determine if the center is willing to buy into Boston's system, opening up the possibility of (gasp!) a long-term deal this offseason, or if he is just a rental the team can say goodbye to at the end of the year.

The rumor is one that will make some people's head spin, but if it doesn't require much for the Celtics to acquire the eight-time All-Star, there would be very little risk bringing him in for a trial.

Ainge is going to kick the tires on anything and everything leading up to the deadline, so expect plenty more rumors like this one over the next 15 days.

Toucher & Rich discussed the rumor on Wednesday morning, and Rich is not a fan:

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