Dwight Howard's upcoming courtship with a host of teams, both longshots and more realistic destinations, is the talk of the league tonight and probably will be moving forward as we come up on the start of the NBA's free agency period, starting with the July moratorium from the 1st to the 9th.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports put a column up earlier tonight stipulating that Howard's first discussion will be with a large, and star-studded coterie of the Rockets' former Hall-of-Famers, current stars, coaches and executives, but next up will be with the Warriors and Hawks on Monday and Mavericks and Lakers on Tuesday.
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi believes it'll be former coach, Phil Jackson, and his fiancee Jeanie Buss, who could be the final piece as to whether or not Howard stays with the Lakers or leaves for one of the other teams with the cap room to absorb a max deal (Twitter). Phil recently met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, but both remained tight-lipped about what they discussed in that meeting (Twitter).
Let's look at more from Howard and others from around the league in yet another helter-skelter night in the NBA:
- Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the Warriors are long shots in their bid to acquire Howard, and they'd likely have to dismantle some of the nucleus that reached the Western Conference Semifinals this past postseason. Kawakami also notes that despite their long odds at landing the big man, Warriors owner Joe Lacob has won a mini-victory just earning a spot on Dwight's free agency list this summer (Twitter).
- Another possible Howard destination is with the Mavericks, and Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that any possible trade for the Celtics' Rajon Rondo would have to wait until after the Mavericks secure Howard because of salary cap stipulations.
- If Howard doesn't sign with the Mavs, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News has plans for other free agent signings for the team this offseason.
- Udonis Haslem revealed to the Associated Press today that he spent the second half of last season with the Heat suffering from a torn meniscus in his knee, which will require surgery soon. He's expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes that the Magic will guarantee guard E'Twaun Moore's contract for next season, after opting not to extend a qualifying offer to DeQuan Jones.
- Al Iannazzone of Newsday says the Knicks GM Glen Grunwald will have to get creative this offseason if he's going to improve the Knicks' roster.
- Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports the Wizards have promoted Pat Sullivan to assistant coach.
- The newly-named Pelicans will look at small forwards in free agency this offseason, writes John Reid of the Times-Picayune.