Dwight Howard Rumors: Latest on Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks and More

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Dwight Howard Rumors: Latest on Lakers, Rockets, Mavericks and More

Dwight Howard has decided to leave the LA Lakers and join the Houston Rockets.

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 11:01 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Dwight Howard released a statement and confirmed that he will be joining the Houston Rockets: 

I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I'm looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best." 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:39 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Howard will not return to the Lakers per a statement by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak on NBA.com:

We have been informed of Dwight's decision to not return to the Lakers. Naturally we're disappointed. However, we will now move forward in a different direction with the future of the franchise and, as always, will do our best to build the best team possible, one our great lakers fans will be proud to support. To Dwight, we thank him for his time and consideration, and for his efforts with us last season. We wish him the best of luck on the remainder of his NBA career."

---End of update---

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:25 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

ESPN's Dave McMenamin refutes the reports that Howard has a meeting set up in Los Angeles:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 10:11 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Los Angeles Daily News reporter Mark Medina reports the latest on Howard:

 

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 9:50 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

SportsCenter reports that Howard has backed off his reported decision to join the Rockets:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 8:45 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy provides the latest on Howard's plan:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 7:40 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan reports Howard's most recent plans:

Rockets backup guard Patrick Beverley doesn't seem to be paying attention to the conflicting reports:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 7:25 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

SportsCenter's Twitter reports the reasons for Howard supposedly deciding to leave Los Angeles:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6:43 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

ABC's Zach Klein reports the latest on Howard:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6:32 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

SportsCenter's Twitter brings us the latest on the Howard saga:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6:25 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy makes note of what still has Howard considering the Lakers:

Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan adds a quote from Howard's agent refuting the reports that the star center has chosen the Rockets:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6:16 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

TNT's David Aldridge reported that the Howard sweepstakes was over:

Only to have that news refuted by a quote from Howard's agent (via Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix):

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski threw one more twist in as well:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 6 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

According to USA Today's Sam Amick, Howard has chosen his next destination: 

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 5:44 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

TNT's David Aldridge announced Howard's top two teams at this point:

 

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 5:30 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides the latest on Howard:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 5:12 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

ESPN's Marc Stein reports the latest on the Howard sweepstakes:

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 4:38 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski adds the latest on Dwight Howard:

Wojnarowski also noted the Warriors' situation after Golden State reportedly reached an agreement with Andre Iguodala Friday afternoon:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 2:30 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

As quickly as hope was given that a decision would be made, it was taken away, courtesy of the latest tweet from the Orange County Register's Janis Carr. 

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5 at 2:05 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

The Orange County Register's Janis Carr reports that we should have a decision on Dwight Howard's next destination by this weekend. 

 

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UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 12:05 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

According to a report from ESPN.com, the Lakers are beginning to come to grips with the possibility that Dwight won't return to the team. 

It was a particularly uncomfortable holiday for the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN.com, as fears mount within the organization that Howard's current employers could have fallen to as low as fourth in his pecking order.

Sources close to the situation stressed that the famously fickle Howard -- deliberating at a hideaway in Aspen, Colo. -- still was undecided about choosing between the Houston Rockets,Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and incumbent Lakers. Yet, there were indications late Thursday that Lakers officials, already bracing for the worst, had begun to rethink their long-held position of ruling out sign-and-trade options in the event Howard decides to bolt to one of L.A.'s rivals.

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UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 8:55 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

ESPN's Marc Stein provides an interesting update on the Warriors' efforts to land Howard:

Mark Heisler claims a sign and trade may not be out of the question:

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 2:00 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

Yahoo! Sports reports that Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon is extremely optimistic about Houston's chances of landing the talented center. Per the report: 

"It's an 85 percent chance he ends up in Houston," Olajuwon told ThePostGame on Wednesday. "You never know, but after that meeting we had, I feel very comfortable that we have the best chance to get him."

Olajuwon said he got the sense Howard liked what the Rockets were selling.

"We're going to come to you," Olajuwon said. "You have James Harden there. You have the backcourt. You're going to get the ball. The coach is there knowing we need your presence in the middle. So we were speaking his language. It's what he wanted. So he was so excited."

The Rockets might be considered the frontrunner for Howard, who has also met with Dallas, Atlanta, Golden State and the Lakers, but that means nothing if he ultimately opts to sign elsewhere.

"If you truly want to win a championship, this is the right team," Olajuwon said. "And I think he feels the sincerity that this is a true opportunity to make something special."

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 1:05 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

ESPN's Chris Broussard tells us that Kobe Bryant's pep talk to Dwight Howard may not have had the desired effect. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 5:33 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski supplies the latest quotes from Howard's meeting with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers:

When Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant spoke to Dwight Howard on Tuesday, his words to the free-agent center resounded an unmistakable and unflinching message: Let me teach you how to be a champion.

"You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here," Bryant told Howard during the Lakers' presentation, witnesses in the room described to Yahoo! Sports.

Bryant also reportedly added this:

"You have to learn how it's done," Bryant told Howard, witnesses described. "I know how to do it and I've learned from the best – players who have won multiple times over and over."

"Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you," Bryant told him.

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 2:45 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

ESPN's Marc Stein has an update on the latest in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 9:55 a.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has some information on Dwight Howard's thought process as he goes about deciding where to sign his next contract.

Before the "what" and "when" of Howard's free-agent decision, the All-Star center and his team must decide the "where." Two options under consideration for Howard's camp to mull his options, according to league sources: a resort area in Colorado and a remote ranch in Montana.

Berger also gave some specifics on the pitches from his prospective suitors.

"The meetings were all very interesting," a person involved in the process told CBSSports.com. "Each [was] very individualized for the team and city they repped. Super impressed by all."

---End of update---


UPDATE: Wednesday, July 3, at 12:05 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

USA Today's Sam Amick notes the latest on Houston's plans for building around a potential Howard signing:

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the Rockets' Monday meeting with free agent forward Josh Smith in Los Angeles included a discussion about a possible partnership with him and his childhood friend from Atlanta in Howard.

Smith has long been known to be on the Rockets' radar, but he is not viewed solely as a backup plan to Howard should he decide to sign elsewhere and the possibility remains of another superteam being created with Howard and Smith joining franchise centerpiece James Harden. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, at 8:01 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports the latest on Howard's whereabouts:

 

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, at 7:51 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski notes Kobe Bryant's attitude toward Howard during the center's meeting with the Lakers:

Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Bresnahan also added this:

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, at 12:20 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

ESPN's Chris Palmer has the latest on Dwight Howard:

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UPDATE: Monday, July 1, at 7:15 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com has an update on Atlanta's pursuit of Dwight Howard.

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Monday, July 1, at 4:30 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld has an update on the pitch the Lakers will deliver when they sit down with Dwight Howard.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Monday, July 1, at 2:45 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

J.A. Adande of ESPN has an update about the Lakers' pitch to keep Dwight Howard in town, via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Monday, July 1, at 1:38 p.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com had an update about the group the Lakers will have when they make their pitch to Dwight Howard.

---End of update---


UPDATE: Monday, July 1, at 9:30 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets:

The Houston Rockets' dinner presentation to free-agent center Dwight Howard at the Hotel Bel-Air centered on the franchise's championship history and an infrastructure designed to give Howard a chance at multiple titles, sources with knowledge of the meeting told Yahoo! Sports.

Houston has emerged as the frontrunner to sign the Los Angeles Lakers center, league sources said, and those close to Howard confirmed late Sunday that the Rockets did nothing to dampen Howard's enthusiasm for the possibilities of playing for Houston.

 Beyond Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander, general manager Daryl Morey, his front office staff, and coach Kevin McHale, the organization brought Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler to make cases to Howard about ownership's long commitment to winning and its relationships with its iconic players.

'Hakeem didn't say much, but what did he say was very impactful,' one source in the room told Yahoo! Sports. Olajuwon talked about the Rockets as a destination for championships and drew upon his own personal relationship with Howard, sources said.

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, at 4:10 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on Dwight Howard's upcoming meeting with the Lakers.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added that another major Lakers star will also be part of the pitch to keep the center in Los Angeles.

---End of update---

 

UPDATE: Sunday, June 30, at 12:59 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy provides more insight into Howard's decision:

---End of update---

 

Original text:

D12 is easily the biggest name on the free-agent market this offseason, a fact cemented by the Los Angeles Clippers' numerous attempts to upgrade their roster this offseason and keep Chris Paul in town. CP3 is a free agent too, but Doc Rivers should make it hard for the star point guard to slip away. 

Back to Howard—after a "down" 2012-13 regular season that included averages of 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds (an NBA high), Howard will field calls from multiple suitors over the course of the next several days. 

Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles reported on Friday that Howard is expected to make his decision on July 10, giving him very little time to hear the different pitches that multiple teams (including his current one) are prepared to offer when it comes to courting his game for the upcoming season. 

So far, the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks have been mentioned as destinations for Howard the longest, but a surprise suitor has crept up in the past few days that might turns some heads in the Western Conference. 

Per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, one of Howard's meetings will reportedly be with the Golden State Warriors' front office:

The Warriors, who took the San Antonio Spurs to six games in the second round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, have a young nucleus of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes and the cap space to make the move of this nature. 

Additionally, they have assets (Andrew Bogut, namely) that might be attractive to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade if Howard tells Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak he's headed to Golden State no matter what next season. 

While the Warriors might be a long shot, it's worth noting that the young core of players already established and an offense that is similar to what Howard played in during his days in Orlando would be selling points for the Warriors in any Howard pitch. 

Per this report from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Howard is scheduled to meet with the Rockets in Los Angeles as soon as the free-agency period opens in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. According to the report, general manager Daryl Morey, head coach Kevin McHale, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are all going to L.A. for that face-to-face. 

According to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, the Rockets are also sending two Hall of Famers to court the NBA's most marketable center:

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

SportsCenter tweeted this tidbit from Goodman's report, noting that the Mavs were slated to send owner Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki to meet with Howard on Tuesday:

USA Today's Sam Amick had this tweet to shed some light on the time frame of Howard's upcoming schedule of meetings with different teams:

The Mavericks and Rockets appear to be the favorites for Howard at this point, and each has pros and cons when you look at what Howard might be facing in a potential exit of California for Texas. 

There is no state tax on the contract in Texas, whereas the one in L.A. will have some considerable money taken out even though the Lakers can offer the security of a fifth year and roughly $30 million more than any other team can. 

According to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard, who spoke with an ESPN radio affiliate in Dallas on Friday (h/t Dallas Morning News), Howard "really likes the Mavericks" and the idea of being the lone future of a franchise who is seeing its biggest star (Nowitzki) fade into a No. 2 role. 

While the Hawks certainly aren't out of the mix and will get their face-to-face with Howard just like everyone else, they and the Lakers appear to be the longest shots of the group when it comes to luring Howard to a destination this summer. 

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Then again, it's D12 we're talking about. The same guy who wanted out of Orlando so bad that he exercised his opt-in for the 2012-13 season in the middle of trade rumors during the 2011-12 season. Nothing is for certain with this guy until he's in uniform, and even then you better check twice to make sure you aren't seeing double. 

The Dwight Howard saga in the summer of 2013 will not soon be forgotten. 

Howard's five reported meetings over the next three days will be the basis for his decision in the days that follow, and each team of franchise representatives will have to bring its A-game to court the big man to its city next year. 

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