The Houston Rockets have been salivating and positioning to get Dwight Howard on their roster for nearly two years, and they are going to waste little time in free agency to make their opening pitch.
On Monday, the same day teams are first allowed to meet with players, the Rockets will send GM Daryl Morey, head coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, former center Hakeem Olajuwon, and star players James Harden and Chandler Parsons.
The entourage of Rockets personnel will be the first to attempt to sway the talented but immature center away from a Los Angeles franchise that can pay Howard far more.
Following the Rockets, the Mavericks will meet with the big man on Tuesday, bringing owner Mark Cuban and forward Dirk Nowitzki. The Atlanta Hawks, the other team in the mix to lure Howard away from the west coast, have not yet set a time but could squeeze between the two Texas franchises.
Going last will be Howard’s current team, the Lakers, whose GM, Mitch Kupchak, is “optimistic” about the center staying in Los Angeles. All signs, however, seem to indicate Howard is leaning towards leaving.
In his first season with the Lakers, the former #1 overall selection averaged his fewest rebounds since his third season in the league and had his lowest points per game average since his second season. Howard will turn 28 next season.