The Houston Rockets are receiving "hopeful signals" that Dwight Howard is considering signing with them this summer, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. The free agent center has reportedly been making it clear to James Harden that he is interested in heading to Houston, even if it means taking less money to do so.
Some expect Howard to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, in part because of the L.A. lifestyle and star status that comes with playing for the Lakers, but also because they can offer Howard more money than any other team. The Lakers can make a five-year offer to Howard worth nearly $120 million, while the Rockets would be limited to a four-year offer worth nearly $90 million. The absence of a state income tax in Texas would only partially offset that difference.
Houston is not getting its hopes up too high about Howard, who is known to change his mind, but the team appears to have a realistic chance of landing the center. Howard will also consider signing with the Dallas Mavericks and plans to take visits to both Houston and Dallas after July 1, when he officially becomes a free agent and can speak with teams.
The Lakers and Rockets both finished 45-37 in 2012-13 and were eliminated in the first round. While the Rockets took a step forward in making the playoffs after signing Harden and Jeremy Lin, the Lakers' season was a circus, with injuries and drama plaguing the team as they went from one of the favorites to win the NBA title to the seventh seed in the Western Conference.