NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Josh Smith, Pau Gasol and More

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts to the fans in the final minutes of their 102-91 win over the Indiana Pacers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NBA free-agency period has reached its pinnacle after Dwight Howard made it known on Friday via Twitter that he would be leaving Los Angeles to sign with the Houston Rockets: 

Howard confirmed his decision with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Friday, but will have to wait until Wednesday before he can sign.

But you can bet that Howard and the Rockets won't be the only ones impacted by his decision this summer. 

Here we'll run through the latest NBA buzz in the wake of Dwight Howard's move.


Could Josh Smith Join Dwight Howard in Houston?

It's no secret that Josh Smith and Dwight Howard used to play together prior to their NBA days, but could they be reunited in Houston this summer?

According to ESPN NBA insider Chris Broussard via Twitter, the Atlanta Hawks have talked to the Rockets about a potential sign-and-trade for Smith, who is a free agent this offseason:'s Brian Windhorst adds that league sources say "the Hawks are open to making a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets for Smith."

Smith and Howard are both 27 and Georgia natives. The two players have basketball chemistry already after developing a friendship as kids. But more so than just adding chemistry, acquiring Smith would make the Rockets a major contender in the Western Conference.

The 6'9" small forward averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game last season in Atlanta and could be the third superstar on a championship-caliber team. 


Lakers Plan on Keeping Pau Gasol?

In the wake of Dwight Howard's decision to leave L.A. for Houston, sources close to the Lakers via's Ramona Shelburne say there will be no more talk of using the amnesty clause on veteran big man Pau Gasol.

Howard's departure should open up the court for Gasol, who struggled playing power forward in Mike D'Antoni's offense.

The seven-footer has fared well as a center in the past, averaging a double-double over three straight seasons with the Lakers from 2009 to 2012. 

Gasol, who will cost the Lakers $19.3 million next year, is coming off a season in which he posted career lows in points per game (13.7) and field-goal percentage (46.6). The 33-year-old also missed over 30 games to injury


Omer Asik Not a Fan of Dwight Howard's Decision

One year after accepting a big-money offer to come to Clutch City, Rockets center Omer Asik could be ready to leave following the team's recent acquisition of Dwight Howard according to sources via ESPN's Brian Windhorst:

Asik has no interest in being Howard's backup or playing next to him, a source close to the Rockets' center told

Asik signed a three-year, $25 million deal with Houston as a free agent last summer. The 27-year-old native of Turkey averaged 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds during the regular season, playing in all 82 games for Houston.

In six postseason games, Asik averaged 12.3 points and 11.2 rebounds on 56 percent shooting from the floor.

There's no denying that Howard is an upgrade over Asik, but getting rid of the defensive-minded big man won't be easy considering he's owed more than $20 million over the next two seasons of his current contract.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter