NBA teams are allowed to speak with free agents at 9 p.m. PST tonight and, as already discussed elsewhere, Dwight Howard will be the center of attention once again.
We know that the Golden State Warriors are among the five teams in the mix to land Howard, but where do they stand compared to the other teams interested?
There's a lot of information floating around the web this morning - some of which is contradictory - so here's a quick summary of the landscape and where the Warriors might stand within it.
What are the Warriors' chances?
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Warriors have the toughest path to getting Howard, noting that, "Golden State hasn't constructed its franchise with the pursuit of Howard as a priority, and has shown little inclination to gut its excellent young core to deliver the Lakers assets in a sign-and-trade deal." Read more >>>
- Sam Amick of USA Today labels the Warriors as "dreamers" in this situation but also notes that Howard's camp is set to "study the respective merits" of all five teams that they've agreed to meet with. Amick also cites a Howard-ism from mid-March: "A lot of people say the grass is greener on the other side…and I would always come back to them saying, 'If you do the right things, buy your own grass, then it'll always be green.'" Read more >>>
- Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News laid out the situation from a Warriors' perspective last night and wondered how serious Howard's camp is about working something out to come to the Bay Area. He writes that he has heard that the Warriors might see taking the contract of Steve Nash off of the Los Angeles Lakers' hands as a "back door bonus". Read more >>>
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that "the fifth year and higher annual increases Howard could receive by re-signing with the Lakers isn't expected to be a determining factor" in Howard's decision because Howard could "recoup the lost earnings in the first year of his next max contract". Read more >>>
The Houston Rockets are the front-runners
- Kevin Zimmerman of SB Nation summarized the entire situation this morning, highlighting that the Houston Rockets are indeed the front-runners due to a combination of their current personnel, Texas tax rules, and marketing possibilities. Read more >>>
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports that James Harden and Chandler Parsons are an important part of the Houston Rockets' contingent that intends to meet with Howard as they talk to him frequently. Parsons previewed his pitch in the article: "We have me and James who are really good wings. Put him in pick-and-roll, make him roll hard and they can’t double because we’re out there." Read more >>>
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News writes that if the Rockets do land Howard, general manager Daryl Morey deserves ample credit for, "...collecting enough assets while maintaining flexibility to capitalize on the fact that the Thunder were not able to re-sign James Harden." Read more >>>
- Patrick Harrel of SBN's The Dream Shake looks at the Rockets' latest pitch in the context of their previous efforts to land a star and writes, "At the end of the day, however, the Rockets have dialed up these crazy recruiting pitches before, and they've been burned by free agents over and over. Let's hope this isn't one of Morey's big swings and misses once again, because this one would be an all-time letdown." Read more >>>
- Wojnarowski also reported an interesting by-product of this madness: NBA tampering rules didn't allow Morey - a member of the board of directors of Major League Gaming - to attend the MLG's world championships because Howard was slated to participate. Complex Sports also has video of the event. Read more >>>
Dallas would even throw in free chicken fingers for life to get Howard
- Hal Brown of SBN's Mavs Moneyball wrote that, "Having Rondo lined up in a trade (which wouldn't be actually executed until July 10th, the date by which Dwight has agreed to decide) could easily motivate Dwight to come to Dallas, and as long as Dwight is signed first, the trade is still executable." Read more >>>
- Andrew Tobolowsky of Mavs Moneyball laid out the prospects for the Dallas Mavericks to get Howard, tying the team's chances to land the big man to whether they can acquire Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. However, "...they'd have to get Dwight first for a couple of reasons. First, after Rondo, they wouldn't have the cash to sign Dwight as an FA. Second, if they had to sign and trade for him, they'd need their only big expiring contract, Marion, for any potential salary matching and then would have no contracts to send for Rondo." Read more >>>
- Matt Moore of CBS Sports relays that a Dallas-area restaurant will offer Howard free chicken fingers for life (approximate value: $530, 621) if he chooses to sign with the Mavericks. Moore's commentary nicely captures people's feeling about Howard's antics in writing, "See, the idiotic thing about this isn't that the restaurant is offering this, but that you can actually envision a scenario where this works." Read more >>>
Hawks are dreamin' too
- Kris Willis of SBN's Peachtree Hoops writes that, "Atlanta has long been viewed as a longshot in the Dwight sweepstakes this summer but there remains a chance. Danny Ferry will try to sell to Howard that his plan for the future is the right one and that Howard could help bring a championship to the city of Atlanta." Read more >>>
- CBS' Moore also looks at how Hawks forward Josh Smith's fortunes are tied to Howard: "Smith is looking for a max deal but will also have to wait for Dwight Howard to clear up his destination before teams will be open to pursuing him, either as a compliment to Howard or as an alternative...Meanwile, the other five teams will be interesting to track. You have to think Atlanta is one, but only if Dwight Howard decides to go there. (Surprise! He won't.)" Read more >>>
Lakers' "billboards don't win championships"
- Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at the Lakers' efforts to retain Howard, which includes a Twitter campaign and signage around the city (as documented by SBN's Silver Screen and Roll). Unfortunately, that was a strategy that did not work for the Orlando Magic. Read more >>>
- Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News that the Lakers see Howard as the guy to pass the torch to once Kobe Bryant's playing days are over, but, "By moving to Houston, he will not face the intense pressure to win or the constant media scrutiny he experienced in Los Angeles this past season." Read more >>>
So with billboards, chicken fingers, and hometown appeal on the table for other teams, where do the Golden State Warriors stand in all this madness? Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.