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The Mavericks inquired about Dwight Howard but the price was too high

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Dallas inquired about Houston's big man, but the trade talks quickly evaporated.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks were one of at least seven teams who contacted the Houston Rockets about Dwight Howard, who the team actively shopped at the trade deadline but ended up being stuck with when they couldn't find an appropriate suitor, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Houston wanted a frontline player and a future first round pick, per Stein, which Dallas really couldn't offer. It would have been very difficult to match Howard's $22.3 million contract this year without giving up Chandler Parsons or Wesley Matthews, which Dallas was obviously not inclined to do.

Although the trade talks may have been unsuccessful, the interest at the trade deadline only reaffirms the likelihood that the Mavericks will pursue Howard this summer, when he likely becomes a free agent after declining a player option worth $23 million. On the open market, Howard may demand the max, which would start over $30 million. Teams will understandably be hesitant to give that much money to the 31-year-old big man who has battled injury concerns throughout his career, but there's a good chance he'll earn more than he's set to receive if he just picked up the option.

Regardless, it's unlikely Howard stays put in Houston. And with the Rockets ended up as sellers at the deadline, it's becoming less and less likely that last year's Western Conference runners up will figure out what has been ailing them all year.