Dwight Howard insisted earlier this week that he didn’t want to stretch the free agency process out. According to both him and his representatives, he hoped to meet with all of his potential suitors as soon as league rules would permit him to do so, hear them out, and then make a final decision as early as possible.
If that’s true, and seeing as we’re dealing with Howard here there’s no way of knowing for certain that it is, then he may make his choice as soon as today.
At this point, the finalists for Howard’s services appear to be: the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. Each squad brings something interesting to the table.
The Rockets have been viewed as frontrunners to land Howard from the beginning; L.A. can offer him more money than other franchise; the Mavs will have the ability to retool their roster sooner than just about everybody; Golden State’s roster/coaching staff seem ideally suited to mesh with Howard’s style.
So, who will ultimately land the most coveted free agent available this summer? Here is the latest on each option.
“As Howard weighs the pros and cons of each franchise, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have determined Houston is the frontrunner to sign the All-Pro center.”
"Houston would covet a sign-and-trade arrangement, if it was fortunate enough to land Howard, so it could try to follow up that blockbuster acquisition by trying to sign Howard's good friend Josh Smith, whom the Rockets long have coveted."
Lakers still have fifth year & extra $30M no one else can offer, but evidence mounting LA bracing for worst w/HOU, DAL & GSW in hot pursuit— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
Also know Rockets, w/Lin & Asik to pitch Lakers & potential third-team facilitators, will offer various scenarios for S-and-T consideration— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
So much mystery surrounding Dwight now. Vibe you get is even Lakes would be surprised if he stays. Yet still so hard/weird to bet against LA— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2013
Sources close to Howard tell me Kobe's reported pitch in Tuesday's meeting about teaching D12 how to win will be a "complete turnoff" to D12— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 4, 2013
One THEORY that wont go away is that Rockets option is smoke to throw people off scent Dwight has been ticketed for Dallas all along.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 3, 2013
“ESPN.com reported Thursday the Warriors had begun aggressively trying to trade away the expiring contracts of Andrew Bogut ($14 million), Richard Jefferson ($11 million) and Andris Biedrins ($9 million). The plan was conceived in the longshot hope that they could clear sufficient salary-cap space to sign Howard outright without needing to sell the Lakers on a complicated sign-and-trade arrangement.”