Latest NBA free agency rumors: Dwight Howard to Houston picking up steam?

Thursday July 4th, 2013

Have the Rockets moved into the lead for Dwight Howard's services? Have the Rockets moved into the lead for Dwight Howard's services? (Mark J. Terril/AP)

NBA free agency opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday and it didn’t take long for agreements to pour in and a host of rumors to pile up. What’s the latest chatter surrounding Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and other coveted players? Find a roundup of all the most recent news below.

MORE COVERAGE: Free agency tracker | Top 25 free agents 

July 5

5:40 p.m. ET

• "Source says Howard's top two, after trade, are -- in no order of preference -- Golden State and Houston. Lakers not eliminated, but now behind."

Yahoo! Sports: "Before Golden State deals, Dwight Howard had narrowed his choices to the Lakers and Rockets, league sources tell Y! Sports. … Golden State hasn't been informed that Howard has eliminated them, nor given up hope of landing him. Unclear how their deals impact his plan." "Dallas Mavericks have been officially notified they are out of Dwight Howard Sweepstakes, sources tell ESPN."

4:30 p.m. ET "If Dwight Howard chooses Golden State as his free-agent destination and the Lakers are amenable to a sign-and-trade arrangement, the Warriors are willing and able to engage, league sources told … [A] person briefed on the matter told on Friday that Golden State is of the belief that the All-Star center is bound for Houston."

Yahoo! Sports: "So far, no teams pursuing Dwight Howard have been informed that he's made a decision. ... Warriors still working to make moves, so my suggestion they're out of play with Dwight Howard is premature. They have tentacles everywhere." "Multiple teams in Dwightstakes, I'm told, FEAR Houston is winning the race."

2:00 p.m. ET

LA Times: "If Dwight Howard tells the Lakers he wants to go to Golden State in a trade, two things can help make it happen: Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. … Golden State guard Stephen Curry was on a can't-touch list, but young up-and-comers Thompson and Barnes would appease the Lakers, who were fine with trading with a division rival if the deal made sense, according to a person familiar with the situation."

• "Lakers, I'm told, have shown level of interest in Asik in past. So I DO fully expect Rockets and Lakers to talk S-and-T if Dwight picks HOU."

Fox Sports: "Hearing rumblings Cavs have talked to Warriors about relieving some of that cap space in Warriors' pursuit of Dwight Howard."

• "This is Dwight Howard, so no one close to this thing prepared to say they're SURE, but more & more NBA whispers today have Rockets in lead."

10:00 a.m. ET "It was a particularly uncomfortable holiday for the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told, as fears mount within the organization that Howard's current employers could have fallen to as low as fourth in his pecking order. … [T]here were indications late Thursday that Lakers officials, already bracing for the worst, had begun to rethink their long-held position of ruling out sign-and-trade options in the event Howard decides to bolt to one of L.A.'s rivals." "League sources tell that Golden State has offered the likes of Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson to the Hawks, Cavaliers and Jazz. … One person briefed on Golden State's cap-clearing efforts told that the team is intent on clearing room regardless of Howard's decision. If Howard says no to Golden State, the Warriors are expected to use the room -- if successful in moving contracts -- to chase another max-level free agent such as Denver forward Andre Iguodala, the person said."

Yahoo! Sports: ""Holed away in Colorado, the Lakers are still prominent in Dwight Howard's mind, sources tell Y! Rockets remain strong, Warriors lurking. … Decisions don't come easy for Howard, nor does disappointing people. There is hope for resolution today, but no assurances." ""Just added to ESPN's latest Dwight story: Sources say Warriors and Jazz have opened talks on trade that would send Andrew Bogut to Jazz. ... Jazz have expressed strongest interest to date in Bogut, sources say. No surprise after Al Jefferson's departure and Bogut's college ties."

Yahoo! Sports: "[DeMarcus] Cousins is open to signing a long-term deal with the Kings, one source close to him said."

New York Post: ""[Chris] Copeland’s agent, John Spencer didn’t rule out a return to the Knicks, but said he expects Copeland to get an offer above $1.75 million. … Spencer said the Lakers, Pacers and the Jazz are front-runners and even the Nuggets, where Copeland played college, are interested."

July 4

7:30 p.m. ET "The Golden State Warriors, increasingly convinced they have a legitimate shot at winning the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, have begun aggressively attempting to trade away players to clear the requisite salary-cap space to sign the All-Star center, according to sources with knowledge of the team's thinking." "The 31-year-old [Jose] Calderon is looking for a team that's a little further ahead in the rebuilding process than the Kings, who are just a couple of months removed from the team being acquired by a group led by Vivek Ranadive that kept it in Sacramento." "Strong indications today that NBA Finals hero Gary Neal will NOT be back with San Antonio. Which is why Spurs moved so fast on Belinelli." "Hearing that Andre Iguodala will make a decision on a team early next week ... Stay tuned for that."

2:00 a.m. ET

• The Hawks reportedly agreed to re-sign Kyle Korver.

• The Spurs reportedly agreed to re-sign Manu Ginobili.

Yahoo! Sports: "When Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant spoke to Dwight Howard on Tuesday, his words to the free-agent center resounded an unmistakable and unflinching message: Let me teach you how to be a champion. 'You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here,' Bryant told Howard during the Lakers' presentation, witnesses in the room described to Yahoo! Sports." "Having heard all the pitches and gathered the information he needs, Dwight Howard is going off the grid for the weekend to weigh his options with his team of advisers. Before the 'what' and 'when' of Howard's free-agent decision, the All-Star center and his team must decide the 'where.' Two options under consideration for Howard's camp to consider his options, according to league sources: a resort area in Colorado and a remote ranch in Montana." "One week after the team unveiled a massive banner on the side of Staples Center with a photo of Howard alongside 'STAY.' and the hashtag #STAYD12, the banner was removed. Staples Center officials said the plan all along was to remove the banner after Tuesday night's Los Angeles Sparks-Minnesota Lynx WNBA game. A crew began removing the banner around midnight, and it was completely gone by early Wednesday morning. The Lakers also put up six billboards around the city, including one in Hollywood, and had some mobile billboards as well. The mobile billboards have been discontinued, and the various billboards around town will be coming down soon as well."

Yahoo! Sports: "Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Smith won’t decide where to sign until after the Fourth of July holiday weekend, at the earliest, a league source told Yahoo! Sports. Smith left Los Angeles to return to his hometown of Atlanta on Wednesday after meeting with the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons. He isn’t in a rush to decide, the source said."

• USA Today Sports: "Restricted free agent and former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans has given the New Orleans Pelicans a verbal agreement that he will sign their four-year, $44 million offer sheet, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports."

Chicago Tribune: "Sources said the Bulls continue to rebuff attempts by the shared agency of Rose and LaMarcus Aldridge to bring the Trail Blazers' All-Star forward to Chicago. Sources said the Bulls have been unwilling to discuss a deal of Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler for Aldridge." "Al Jefferson spent past day and a half with Bobcats. He wants to see where [Dwight Howard] goes before committing [because Mavericks] may offer if it loses on D12. Jefferson looking for 4-year deal starting at about $15 mill ..."

Yahoo! Sports: "Free agent guard O.J. Mayo is closing in on a multiyear contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports."

• "Teams interested in Kenyon Martin: Lakers, Clippers, Spurs, Knicks, Nets, source says."

Yahoo! Sports: "Portland is a possible destination for center Robin Lopez, with Indiana and others on a short list in pursuit, league sources tell Y! If Pelicans don't waive Robin Lopez by Thursday -- paying 500K buyout -- his $5.1M and 5.3M salaries the next two years become guaranteed. With so much trade interest in center Robin Lopez, it is unlikely the Pelicans will fail to guarantee his contract this week."

Sporting News: "Free-agent forward Earl Clark met with the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday, and though no contract offers were made, the two sides are expected to meet again Wednesday, a source told Sporting News."

Yahoo! Sports : " Interested teams in Sixers free agent forward Dorrell Wright include: [Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis and Dallas], source tells Y! Sports."
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