Of course, while Howard will dominate the rumor mill, he is not the only big name surrounded by speculation.
I'll get into a few other potential difference-makers who could be on the move, but first, let's jump into the Dwightmare, part two.
Is Dwight Howard's Stay in L.A. Over?
When Dwight Howard landed on the Lakers prior to last season, it seemed safe to assume that Howard's long-term future was finally set. After all, stars go to the Lakers, not leave them.
Well, as he is wont to do, Dwight may be prepared to go against the grain.
Check out the information passed along by ESPN's Chris Broussard:
Sources: Dwight Howard unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers. Dallas and Houston the favorites. Main issue w/Lakers is Mike D'Antoni's system— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 27, 2013
Broussard isn't the only one hearing of Howard's likely departure. ESPN's Marc Stein echoes the statement:
Rival executives, more & more, list Houston as favorite in Dwight Sweepstakes ahead of Lakers. Trading T-Rob means Rockets can offer D12 max— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 26, 2013
Which team will D-12 call home next season?
Now, this certainly doesn't mean that it is safe to assume Howard will leave L.A. After all, there are no safe assumptions when it comes to Howard, and the Lakers could go as far as firing Mike D'Antoni.
After firing Mike Brown just five games into this past season, Los Angeles is certainly no stranger to abrupt coaching changes.
Still, it appears that the Lakers are fighting an uphill battle to retain Howard.
LaMarcus Aldridge Fancies a Move to the Windy City
According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald, LaMarcus Aldridge isn't interested in the Blazers' rebuilding process and wants out. McGraw also notes that the Bulls are the 27-year-old's team of choice.
However, as they should, the Blazers are asking for a king's ransom.
They are asking for not only the apparently available Luol Deng but also Joakim Noah. That particular deal isn't going to happen. The Bulls are extremely unlikely to give up Noah.
However, this is how negotiations start.
As McGraw notes, the Bulls have other attractive pieces that include Charlotte's 2016 unprotected No. 1 pick. If the Bulls want to make this trade, they will have to give up some value.
The Blazers will not be bullied into dealing with the Bulls, and Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers have also inquired about Aldridge.
Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see Aldridge in Chicago next year.
Milwaukee Is Looking to Raid the Knicks' Bench
The Knicks are going to have a hard time re-signing both J.R. Smith and Chris Copeland.
That pair of free agents provided the bulk of the Knicks' bench scoring last season, as they combined to average 24.5 points per game.
That bench was a big part of New York's success last season, and the dark reality for the Knicks is they might not be able to keep either player.
According to Sham Sports, New York already has $77.68 million accounted for the 2013-14 season.
Milwaukee sees this vulnerability, and it is not sitting idle, at least if ESPN's Chris Broussard is to be believed:
Sources tell me & @JaredZwerling that Bucks have interest in NYK free agents JR Smith & Chris Copeland. They could outbid NYK 4 both guys— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 27, 2013
The Bucks may have legitimate interest in signing both, or they may be simply trying to drive up the price to weaken their Eastern Conference rivals. So, whether one or both of these guys winds up on the Bucks or not, the matchups between these two just got a little more interesting.