Superstar center Dwight Howard will reportedly have his first meeting of NBA free agency with the Houston Rockets on Sunday at approximately 9 p.m. PT in Los Angeles, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Rockets will get first free agency crack at Dwight Howard with meeting Sunday in LA, shortly past 9 PM PST, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 29, 2013
The 27-year-old Howard was part of a tumultuous Lakers squad last season that barely made the playoffs, then was subsequently swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports that Rockets Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler will be in attendance on Sunday when Howard meets with the organization's representatives:
NBA sources: Hakeem OIajuwon will not be the only Hall of Famer meeting w/Dwight Howard on behalf of Rockets Sunday. So will Clyde Drexler.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 29, 2013
Houston has plenty to offer Howard in terms of stellar personnel too, with stud shooting guard James Harden and small forward Chandler Parsons among the marquee players.
Parsons has been in contact with Howard constantly, serving as a huge advocate in the team's hopes to land him.
Which team would be a more legitimate title contender with Dwight Howard next season?
ESPN's Chris Broussard recently reported that there is "very little chance" Howard will re-sign with the Lakers. The quality of his potential supporting cast in Houston and the massive push the Rockets are making in an attempt to woo Howard give more traction to that report.
The Rockets' uptempo style of play is similar in some ways to the system Mike D'Antoni runs in Los Angeles, a system Howard reportedly doesn't like. Having said that, if Howard wants his best chance to win a championship in the immediate and long-term future, it's hard to argue against the Rockets as the best bet.
Not only could Olajuwon help refine Howard's offensive game, but head coach Kevin McHale would be a fantastic mentor in that regard too.
The Dallas Mavericks are also interested in landing Howard, and ESPN's Broussard reports that superstar Dirk Nowitzki and owner Mark Cuban will lead the meeting with him in L.A. on Tuesday:
Sources: Mavs, led by Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki, will meet with Dwight Howard Tuesday in LA— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2013
That duo should be able to provide a compelling sales pitch, and it will be interesting to see what Howard chooses to do. At this point, odds are pretty good he'll be playing somewhere in the Lone Star State.
That puts D-12's free-agent schedule looking like this (per USA Today reporter Sam Amick):
Schedule being set for Dwight Howard free agency visits in LA - Golden State, Atlanta expected Monday, Dallas, Lakers Tuesday.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 29, 2013
With multiple teams in the hunt, the rumor mill will stay hot. Stay tuned for updates.