NBA superstars Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will both become free agents on July 1, and they have been "in consistent contact" and may be looking to sign with the same franchise to form the next big superteam in the association, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers hold the respective Bird Rights to Paul and Howard, which means they can offer significantly more money and more years on a new max contract than any other NBA team. But neither franchise has the cap space to sign both players. A sign-and-trade deal to send Howard to the Clippers is a possibility, as they could offer high-quality players like Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe in return. There are a few other options around the NBA, as well.
The Houston Rockets have reportedly identified Howard and Paul as "targets No. 1 and 1A" this offseason, but GM Daryl Morey would need to open up additional cap space -- possibly by trading Thomas Robinson, Omer Asik and others in cap-friendly deals -- to sign both players to max deals.
The Atlanta Hawks are another option. GM Danny Ferry has worked hard to eliminate long-term obligations on the books in anticipation for a run at Howard this summer. Atlanta is Dwight's hometown, so there is a natural selling point, but Broussard's sources say it would be "very tough for [Paul] to go to Atlanta" because he thought the franchise should have stepped up and drafted him in 2005. It's hard to believe that a draft-day decision from '05 would factor into a major career move eight years later, so take that portion of the report with a grain of salt. The marketing department for the Hawks has certainly been busy dreaming up scenarios where the team uses its cap space and four draft picks to land Paul and Howard.
This rumor may not bear fruit, but it is a sign that the summer of 2013 will be very interesting in the NBA.