Most have limited the options for Dwight Howard to just the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, but another team appears determined to get in on the action: the Golden State Warriors. Executives from the franchise will meet with Howard on Monday to sell the idea of joining forces with Stephen Curry, and it's a pitch that could be intriguing.
While the Warriors would prefer to find a way to sign Howard outright, reports also indicate the team would be willing to arrange a sign-and-trade if it brought Howard to the bay. Such a move would likely involve Andrew Bogut plus Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson, though, so Dwight would need to be confident the team could contend even after losing those pieces.
However, if Los Angeles would be receptive to a package featuring Bogut and expiring contracts (such as Richard Jefferson), the Warriors could emerge as a much more appealing suitor. A lineup featuring Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Howard and David Lee would certainly be imposing in the Western Conference, though trading Lee remains one option for the team.
Golden State of Mind runs down all of the latest rumors regarding Howard and the Warriors, which seem to indicate a varying amount of legitimate interest from the team.
Mavericks reach out to Andrew Bynum
A number of teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, reached out to free agent center Andrew Bynum after the free agency period began Monday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas reports. The team wants to be thorough in evaluating the center's health following a season on the sidelines, but he's Plan B to the team's top target, Howard.
The report notes Dallas wasn't scared off by Tyson Chandler's past injury woes prior to turning him into the starting center on a championship team, so Bynum remains in play despite his ongoing knee issues. Mavs Moneyball broke down the team's cap situation Monday morning, and the team could certainly offer Bynum a lucrative contract. The Mavs signed Israeli guard Gal Mekel, but his league minimum salary won't impact their pursuit of top players and any contract with Bynum would likely include language to protect the team financially.
C.J. Watson, Pacers near contract
At least one free agent appears to be coming off the market soon, as HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy reports point guard C.J. Watson is close to finalizing a deal with the Indiana Pacers. The contract will be for two years at more the league minimum, with Watson replacing D.J. Augustin as the team's backup point guard. It's a role Watson is quite familiar with, as he played behind Derrick Rose and Deron Williams over the past few years. In 2012-13, Watson averaged 6.8 points and two assists in 80 games with the Brooklyn Nets. He gives the Pacers a good shooter off the bench; he's shot 40 percent from beyond the arc over the past three seasons. Indy Cornrows praises the pending move: "When you consider the type of player Watson is, his effectiveness in a reserve role, defensive capability and fit on the roster at the right price (presumably), this is a great move for the Pacers."
Spurs have Andrei Kirilenko "in their sights"
Just a victory short of winning their fifth title in the Duncan/Popovich era, the San Antonio Spurs are once again ready to shake things up this offseason. Free agent forward Andrei Kirilenko is "in their sights," according to ESPN's Marc Stein, which could complicate the Minnesota Timberwolves' efforts to retain the Russian. A talented defender and versatile player, Kirilenko would give the Spurs another two-way weapon capable of challenging offenses on the defensive end while being a capable shooter and passer on the other side of the floor. However, the 32-year-old will likely command a sizable contract after opting out of a $10.2 million salary with Minnesota, and he'd have to find playing time beside Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw, who will be back next season.