Kobe Bryant Plays Hard to Get with Dwight Howard at Start of NBA Free Agency

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 24, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the start of NBA free agency on Monday morning, the winks and hints could stop and the official, full-blown Dwight Howard nightmare could commence.

The Los Angeles Lakers will have a crack at re-signing the big man they moved Andrew Bynum to land, but it seems Kobe Bryant isn't going to be twisting his arm to get him to stay in Los Angeles.

While it would give Kobe and the Lakers their best chance to win another title, he's made it clear that one thing stands above himself and his teammates (including Howard) who will be free agents this summer.

Start of free agency is always interesting.. Many teams. Only one Lakers #goldenarmor #FreeAgency #LA #bleedgold

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 1, 2013

Beyond that, the Lakers do plan on using Bryant and even Steve Nash in their pitch to get Howard in much the same way the Houston Rockets are using their players and even a few legends to get him on board in Houston.

The Rockets got the first meeting with Howard at the start of free agency, as Daryl Morey called for Rockets fans to send messages to Howard, imploring him to sign with the Rockets.

Free agency kicking off! Hoping to meet with @DwightHoward tonight. Rockets fans send a message to him with #dwight2houston

— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 1, 2013

Howard says he'll make the final decision on where he'll sign when the moratorium for signing free agents ends on July 10.

As free agency starts, Houston is presumed to be the favorite to land Howard, while Kobe's Lakers are close behind.