Dwight Howard has been visited by five teams since free agency opened, meeting with the Rockets late Sunday night, the Hawks and Warriors on Monday, and the Mavericks and Lakers on Tuesday. It appears Howard will decide on one of those five options, with no dark horse suitors like the Clippers lurking as possibilities. Happy Walters, one of Howard's reps at Relativity Sports, tweeted earlier this morning, "Great meetings with @DwightHoward. Group Going 2 get some Mountain air to clear the mind and make some decisions."
Here's more on Walters' tweet and Howard's free agency in general:
- In the Lakers meetings with Howard, Kobe Bryant essentially challenged his teammate to learn how to become a champion, insisting that Bryant should be the one to teach him in L.A., writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, via Twitter, Mike D'Antoni, Steve Nash, Bryant and Howard all openly talked about last year's issues, leaving nothing unsaid yet still leaving the meeting on a positive note.
- Regarding Stein's report that Golden State had forced their way into the conversation, Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News hears that Mark Jackson was very impressive and that the pitch included Howard being surrounded by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes (via Sulia string). This would all but rule out a blockbuster sign-and-trade.
- Tim Kawakami, also of the Mercury News, provides an extensive breakdown of what is and is not possible when it comes to the Warriors and Howard. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld also gives his take on the potential match.
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Warriors made a real impression on Howard during their Monday meeting, and shouldn't be written off as a potential destination, though they still probably trail the Lakers, Rockets, and Mavs (Twitterlinks).
- Howard hopes to decide by this Friday on which team he'll sign with, according to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter. A source tells Schefter that D12's decision is "totally up in the air."
- There are still teams interested in further making their cases to Howard, but he appears to have shut down all takes to decide now, says Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to various reports, Howard and his camp are heading to Aspen to discuss their options.
- Howard and his camp will be heading "off the grid" to either a resort area in Colorado or a remote ranch in Montana to weigh the big man's options over the next few days, writes Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
- One source to Berger, on Howard's meetings this week: "The meetings were all very interesting. Each [was] very individualized for the team and city they repped. Super impressed by all."
- Berger also speculates on how Howard will announce his decision, predicting that while a LeBron James-esque production won't happen, D12 could make his announcement via a YouTube video.
- A decision could come from Howard by Friday, but it's also possible he'll "let it bleed into the weekend," says Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- A source with knowledge of Howard's decision-making process still believes the Rockets are the favorites, according to Wojnarowski. "The Rockets have put themselves in position to pull this off," the source said. "If he wants to win right now – and be set up to keep winning – it's hard to make a case for anyone but Houston."