Soon-to-be free-agent center Dwight Howard will give "strong consideration" to signing with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping for a quick decision from Howard on whether he will re-sign with the team, but it appears likely that the process will be drawn out.
According to Berger, Howard is most intrigued by the Rockets, who would need to make a few moves to be able to sign Howard. Berger reported that Howard likes the Rockets' roster, which includes a young star in James Harden and a complementary, 26-year-old 7-footer in Omer Asik.
Before he was traded to the Lakers last offseason, the Rockets were involved in discussions to acquire Howard from the Orlando Magic.
The Mavericks would also have to make a few minor moves to be able to get under the salary cap and sign Howard.
The one advantage the Lakers have in upcoming negotiations with Howard is the ability to offer him more money to stay in Los Angeles. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Howard can sign a five-year, $118 million contract to stay with the Lakers, or a four-year, $87.6 million deal with another team. The Lakers, however, will be hamstrung in any attempt to improve their roster if they re-sign Howard.
After the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Howard didn't give any indication of whether he was planning to re-sign with the team.
“For me, I’m going to do what’s best for myself, what’s going to make me happy,” Howard said. “At the end of the day, I can’t control who likes me and who dislikes me but I have the right to be happy. That’s what I’m going to do. That’s the biggest thing right there.”