Magic's off-season plate overloaded

According to ClutchFans.net, a website covering the Houston Rockets, the Rockets were close to acquiring, er, renting Dwight Howard before the six-time all-star waived his opt-out.

OK. At this point, it's all moot speculation anyway, right?

Except that ClutchFans.net says the Rockets are prepared to try to rent Howard again if he wants out this season, even though he agreed to play another year.

If true, my guess is the Rockets are offering Kevin Martin and Luis Scola for Howard because the salaries match up. Martin can be prolific at times, but I like Scola's skill and toughness.

Even if Howard doesn't sign a long-term extension with Rockets, they would at least have Martin and Scola off the books for a relaunch.

I used to like Howard for Andrew Bynum, straight up, but Bynum has become an alarming head case. I'm leaning now toward the Magic needing two players or more for Dwight as a way to improve Orlando's overall talent.

Playoff payoff

The playoffs have been fascinating — not for the great play, necessarily, but the great story lines.

•Indiana vs. Miami: Indy's lunch-pail guys are throwing a wrench into that whole Super Friends concept. And LeBron thought he was through the worst of it.

San Antonio vs. L.A. Clippers: The Spurs are like that great rock band that has come back to tour again to incredible reviews. (And make no mistake: San Antonio isn't some Little Engine That Could. It has had a Big Three, too, in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.)

Boston vs. Philly: Celtics' smelling salts have been the opening to the Finals creating by injuries to Chris Bosh and Rose.

Oklahoma City vs. L.A. Lakers: Like the Heat, the Lakers find themselves in a tough spot. The Thunder are too athletic, too young, too deep. Hard part: Driving a stake through Kobe Bryant's heart.

This 'n' that

Maybe you heard about the 12-year-old Texas kid suspended from school for having a likeness of Spurs F Matt Bonner shaved into the back of his red-haired head. This is unbelievable. Bonner has fans? ... Not-so-social social media: Lakers PG Steve Blake and his wife, Kristen, were targets of threats and criticism on Steve's Twitter account after he missed a shot in Game 2 against the Thunder. "I hope your family gets murdered," read one tweet. … Speaking of tweets, Howard has not tweeted since April 20 — the day of his back surgery. And many of those tweets up until then are for a good cause, dedicated to ID fingerprint kits to protect children. At last count Dwight has posted 16,362 tweets. Can't he make the 16,363rd on whether he's staying or straying?

bschmitz@tribune.com
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