The NBA free-agency period has arrived, and teams are beginning their pursuit of big-name players capable of turning them into a championship contender.
No name on the market is more colossal than Dwight Howard.
Many, like ESPN's Chris Broussard, expect the seven-time All-Star to leave Los Angeles for greener pastures this summer. But keep in mind that this is Dwight Howard we're talking about, and nothing is ever certain until it set in stone.
Here, we'll take a closer look at the latest buzz surrounding Howard and some of the other notable names that could be on the move this summer.
Houston Rockets Go All In for Dwight Howard
According to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne, Dwight Howard heard from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak soon after the free-agency period began on Monday. But he also met with the Houston Rockets, who apparently went all out to make Superman feel wanted:
The Rockets contingent who met with Howard included players James Harden, Chandler Parsons, coach Kevin McHale, general manager Daryl Morey, owner Les Alexander and Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Yao Ming talked with Howard via Skype from China, and according to the Houston Chronicle, Dikembe Mutombo recorded a video message for Howard.
Howard led the league in rebounding last year and is widely viewed as the best center in today's NBA. But while he still managed to put up solid numbers last season with the Lakers, the perennial All-Star struggled throughout the year and was often unhappy with his role, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein.
His 17.1 points per game were his fewest since his sophomore season with the Orlando Magic.
According to sources close to the situation, via McMenamin and Shelburne, Howard is expected to meet with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and the Lakers in the coming days.
Charlotte Bobcats Reach Out to Al Jefferson
The Bobcats have reportedly reached out to free-agent big man Al Jefferson this summer, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
The Charlotte Bobcats have reached out to representatives for Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson to gauge his interest in signing here, an NBA source confirmed to the Observer.
The 28-year-old center averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season with the Jazz, starting 78-of-82 regular-season games. His ability to score consistently in the low post is what will make him such a coveted piece this summer.
Charlotte could certainly use Jefferson's services this coming season, but this move would be a head-scratching one, as the team drafted former Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the draft last month.
It all depends on how long the Bobcats are looking to sign Jefferson for, though. If he's going to be a short-term rental, this move would make a lot of sense.
New Orleans Pelicans Interested in Tyreke Evans at SF
According to ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein, the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to improve at small forward this summer, and Tyreke Evans could be their guy:
Pelicans will have a face to face with Tyreke Evans tonight after free agency commences at 12:01 AM ET, ESPN has learned— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2013
NBA.com's David Aldridge confirmed Stein's report and added that New Orleans could throw down a big offer sheet in the near future:
As @ESPNSteinLine reported, Pelicans will meet with Tyreke Evans late tonight. Told they will have an offer sheet in hand--a big one.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2013
The 6'6", 220-pound Evans is listed as a point guard, but he's more of a pure scorer than a creator. He's averaged 17.5 points and 4.8 assists per game through four NBA seasons.
Although he's a 45 percent shooter from the field for his career, Evans has hit just 28 percent of his three-pointers since entering the league in 2009. But if it's scoring the Pelicans are looking for, there's no doubt that Evans is the right guy for the job.
Andre Iguodala Set to Meet With a Plethora of Teams
No one will be busier than Andre Iguodala on Monday, according to Yahoo! Sports NBA insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears, who have heard from sources that the veteran forward will meet with a handful of NBA teams:
He's expected to speak with the Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, a source told Yahoo! Sports.
Iguodala started 80 regular-season games for the Nuggets in 2012-13, doing a little bit of everything for the No. 3 seed out West. The 29-year-old averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in his first and only season in Denver.
Prior to playing with the Nuggets, Iguodala played eight seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, peaking a few years back, averaging nearly 20 points per game in 2007-08.
At age 29, Iguodala is still a fantastic wing scorer and perimeter defender who can help put a playoff team over the top next season.
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