Dwight Howard Leaning Toward Rockets

Dwight Howard is leaning toward signing with the Rockets, but he'll meet with every potential suitor once free agency begins July 1st, according to HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy (Twitter links). The Rockets are increasingly optimistic about their chances to land the big man, though given the indecisiveness he's shown in the past, Houston may not be his preferred destination by July 10th, the first day he can sign a contract.

Officials from teams other than the Lakers can't talk to Howard until July 1st, but that doesn't preclude players on opposing teams from chatting with him and trying to influence his decision. Howard has already spoken with James Harden, sources tell Kennedy, who believes Howard and Rockets sharpshooter Chandler Parsons have spoken as well (Twitter link). A conversation with Parsons might have been somewhat odd, since there's a chance he might not be around if the Rockets end up with Howard. Parsons' $926,500 contract for next season, partially guaranteed for $600K, could wind up a casualty of the team's effort to clear cap space, as Salary Cap FAQ author Larry Coon surmised last month. Houston already appears to be shopping Thomas Robinson in an effort to make room for Howard. 

The Rockets, along with the Lakers, Mavericks and Hawks, appear to be the most fervent suitors of Howard, though Kennedy reported a couple of weeks ago that there's still mutual interest between Howard and the Nets. Brooklyn's salary cap limitations would make it almost impossible for him to wind up there, but if Howard is as open to pitches from teams as he seems to be, other clubs with cap room may get involved. 

Howard is eligible for a contract of up to four years and about $87.59MM if he signs with a team other than the Lakers. If he stays with the purple and gold, he could get up to five years and $117.95MM.

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