Dwight Howard Reportedly Sending ‘Hopeful Signals’ to the Houston Rockets

by May 31, 2013

The Houston Rockets have begun the process of clearing cap space for Dwight Howard, presumably because they’re getting all sorts of good vibes from the famously indecisive big man. ESPN reports that Howard is seriously considering leaving the Lakers for H-Town through free agency: “Sources close to the process said that the Rockets have received what has been described as ‘hopeful signals’ that Howard is seriously considering a jump from the Lakers to the Rockets after becoming a free agent July 1. Although the Rockets are well aware that Howard has a penchant for changing his mind, sources say that Howard has conveyed his rising interest to Houston star swingman James Harden, a fellow West All-Star. Sources say Howard, furthermore, has already made it clear he’ll field in-person recruiting visits from the Rockets and Dallas Mavericks once free agency begins. It’s possible, sources said, that other teams will be added to the list. After the Rockets’ elimination from the playoffs in May, when asked if he’ll be an active participant in free-agent recruiting, Harden said: ‘Hell, yeah.’ When asked specifically about Howard, Harden cracked a smile and said: ‘Maybe. Possibly.’ […] Several rival executives, meanwhile, said that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has likewise left the impression in recent days that Houston believes it has a legitimate shot at luring Howard away from the Lakers. […] Although only the Lakers can offer Howard a five-year deal worth nearly $120 million — with leading external suitors Houston and Dallas limited to four-year offers worth just under $90 million — L.A.’s financial advantage in trying to retain to Howard is not as robust as it seems. Not only does the absence of state taxes in Texas narrow the gap, but the strong likelihood that Howard, at 27, would opt out of a new deal to return to free agency before the fifth year lessens the Lakers’ edge further.”