Dwight Howard will go over his options as a free agent this summer, but if he leaves the Lakers it won't be for the rival Los Angeles Clippers, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles. She reports there are "multiple reasons" for Howard not to sign with the Clippers.
Quickly, any possibility of Chris Paul and Howard playing together with the Clippers has been thrown out of the window. The two All-Stars reportedly had discussed playing with one another when Howard was with the Magic and Paul was with the Hornets but things never worked out as Howard waffled in his decisions, as Yahoo! Sports detailed last year. Furthermore, Yahoo! reported that Howard didn't see himself fitting with the Clippers because he didn't see how he'd fit alongside forward Blake Griffin.
Either way, for the Clippers to acquire Howard and keep Paul would be difficult considering their cap limitations and the inability to work out a trade with the rival Lakers.
On Sunday, it was reported by CBS Sports' Ken Berger that Howard would indeed take his free agency process slowly rather than commit to re-signing with the Lakers. The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are two potential suitors for the All-Star center, who had a disappointing year for the Lakers in 2012-13. Houston has the ability to sign a max player with a few small moves to free up cap space, and Dallas could also chase after the big man with a few moves of their own -- Dirk Nowitzki mentioned Howard by name in talking about the Mavs' free agent targets.
While the Texas teams could offer less-lengthy contracts than the Lakers, they both have a distinct advantage over either Los Angeles team. Howard could save millions of dollars because he wouldn't have to pay state income taxes in Texas. Berger estimated the savings to be a total of $10 million over the course of his entire four-year deal.
In general, Howard leaving the Lakers appears to be a possibility considering the tied-up financial situation. Compounding the Lakers' chances are Kobe Bryant's Achilles injury and the rocky season that saw them barely make the playoffs and then get swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the postseason.