Howard is willing to forgo the extra $30 million the Lakers can pay him to play for a coach and in a system he feels will better use his skill set, one source said.
Howard plans to meet with Dallas, Houston and Atlanta before meeting with the Lakers once teams are allowed to contact free agents beginning July 1, a source said. It appears that the teams will visit Howard in Los Angeles.
While many believe Houston is the Lakers' stiffest competition, sources say Howard finds Dallas just as appealing, if not more. Assuming the Mavericks are able to clear enough cap space to offer him a maximum-salaried contract, Howard is strongly considering joining Dallas. The Mavericks are trying to shed Shawn Marion's $9 million expiring contract to create the room to sign Howard, according to sources.
I tried to highlight the bits that most involve Dallas, but there's a lot of stuff in that article that explores this situation and this potentially explosive twist. The typical caveats apply: Chris Broussard and Dwight Howard are notoriously unreliable, and Howard himself could contradict everything in this article tomorrow.
However, this is the first time I can recall Howard's desire to stay described as "unlikely". Apparently, his level of dissatisfaction with coach Mike D'Antoni and Kobe Bryant was greater than we might have initially thought. And if there's one guy crazy enough to leave the Lakers, despite all the advantages sticking with that franchise might present, it's Dwight Howard.
As Marc Stein and others have suggested over the past few months, Houston may be the biggest threat in stealing Dwight. They have cap space, a young superstar already in the fold, and trade assets that they could send back if a sign and trade is the most desirable course of action for the begrudging Lakers. Dallas has approximately one of those three things.
So, what say you, Mavs fans? Are you strapped in?