Rockets To Meet With Dwight Howard First

The Rockets will meet with Dwight Howard late Sunday night in Los Angeles, soon after teams other than the Lakers become eligible to negotiate with the free agent center, reports Jeff Goodman of The same can't be said for Golden State, as a source close to Howard tells Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game that the sought-after free agent center won't visit the Warriors to hear a pitch from the team (Sulia link). An earlier report indicated that the Warriors were hoping to sit down with Howard, and that he was likely to indulge them on their request.

Houston's contingent will include GM Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, Hall-of-Fame Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and current Rockets James Harden and Chandler Parsons, Goodman writes. The Rockets have emerged as the front-runner in the last few weeks for the famously indecisive Howard, whose most serious suitors appear to be Houston, the Mavs and the Lakers, according to Bucher. Parsons has said he's been in contact with Howard every day this spring.

The Warriors don't have cap space for 2013/14, so the only way they could acquire Howard would be via sign-and-trade as Bucher points out. Even if the Lakers agree to such a maneuver, the Warriors would have to send back close to $20MM in salary to make the deal work with a max contract for Howard, which could gut a roster that made it to the Western Conference semifinals last season.

The Hawks don't make much sense for Howard, Bucher writes, adding that Howard may listen to a pitch from Atlanta simply so he's not seen rejecting the notion of coming to his hometown team out of hand.

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