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Report: Rockets shopping Thomas Robinson to chase Dwight Howard

Houston forward Thomas Robinson, shown with the Sacramento Kings in October, might be moved to another team as the Rockets pursue Lakers center Dwight Howard.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Houston Rockets are hoping to lure Lakers’ free-agent center Dwight Howard to Texas this offseason.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Rockets are shopping second-year forward Thomas Robinson to clear cap room to make a run at Howard.

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As recently detailed by The Times, “the league’s latest cap projections of $58.5 million for next season could complicate matters for Houston. Without making a trade, they’ll have about $16.2 million in cap space.”

Howard is eligible for a contract starting at $20.5 million. The Lakers can offer a five-year $118 million but the importance of the fifth season is debatable.

If the Lakers’ veteran center is open to signing for four years, tax advantages in Texas may put the Rockets on equal footing with an offer of $88 million -- but Houston will need the cap space to do so.

Should Houston can Robinson’s $3.5 million next season without bringing back any salary in return, they would have approximately $19.2 million in cap space.

Dealing Royce White and Terrence Jones in a similar fashion could enable the Rockets to sign Howard at the full $20.5 million in the first year, without giving up players like James Harden, Chandler Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Patrick Beverley, Greg Smith and Donatas Motiejunas.

Howard’s future isn’t clear, but Houston could be a viable suitor, assuming it can find a taker for 6-foot-10, 22-year old Robinson, who was taken with the fifth pick in 2012 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.

Robinson was moved to the Rockets midway through the season in a deal bringing Patrick Patterson to California.

The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks are also expected to make runs at Howard, among others. Teams cannot negotiate with free agents until July 1.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.


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