Rockets Driving NBA Free-Agent Debate

Rockets Driving NBA Free-Agent Debate

On June 30, a small group of men visiting the West Coast from Houston left their luxury hotel around 9 pm Pacific Time for a short ride through the winding Beverly Hills streets lined with palm trees and hidden mansions. After reaching their destination, they began their pitch.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, his pockets swollen from a recent New York real estate deal, left most of the sweet-talking to others in the party. Among them: GM Daryl Morey, who did a masterful job of clearing salary cap space, and coach Kevin McHale, who knew how to work the low post better than anyone as a player. As they sat in a room, Morey and McHale had to dig deep to work over -- and win over -- Dwight Howard, a guy who usually has a tough time making up his mind.

By all accounts, that room must have turned more romantic than a Santa Monica sunset. And that's how Free Agency 2013 tipped off and kicked into high gear, with an NBA team professing to give everything to the No. 1 free agent prize who has it all, except good aim from the free throw line and a championship.

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