NBA Free Agency links: Golden State Warriors a 'factor' for Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant's winning pitch, and Darren Collison

Will the mere presence of these guys on the roster be more persuasive than Kobe Bryant's pitch to Dwight Howard? - Ezra Shaw

Some links to nourish your mind before you fill your stomach with barbeque.

Free agency continues in the NBA, but most of the basketball world is waiting to see where Dwight Howard chooses to end up this coming season.

How big a player are the Warriors in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes? First, I have to say that it's hard to read too much into reports that the Warriors are all of a sudden a serious player in Dwight Howard's decision - the bottom line is that if history is any indication this is all guesswork, as Bomani Jones described the other day. But the very fact that the Warriors were on his short list despite the fact that they could only obtain him via sign and trade showed he was intrigued by what this team had to offer at the very least, as described well by Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, and at best he was hoping a face-to-face meeting would help make him more comfortable with the idea of playing there.

If you recall, it wasn't that much more than a year ago when Howard was definitely headed to the New Jersey-turned-Brooklyn Nets before he was content to stay with the magic before he wasn't interested in either. In the context of all of that, a report that the Warriors have gone from "longshot" to "factor" is likely more of a tease than anything. And that's before getting into the question of whether the Los Angeles Lakers would even facilitate a sign and trade.

Even Dwight Howard's strengths manage to show everything that makes the NBA's top free agent so enticing and absolutely infuriating. Click here to read a summary of the 18 minute video.

What would the Warriors' initial offer be in a hypothetical trade negotiation with the Lakers? For whatever it means that the Warriors are more of a factor, Marcus Thompson posted on Sulia that, "...the Warriors' pitch to Dwight Howard included being surrounded by Stephen Curry AND Klay Thompson AND Harrison Barnes." That almost certainly means that Andrew Bogut could be used to entice the Lakers along with Brandon Rush and an expiring contract, as Adam Lauridsen has suggested on Twitter.

Should we thank Kobe Bryant if Howard leaves the Lakers? When I saw this tweet yesterday I let out a little chuckle.

As Matt Moore of CBS Sports wrote last night, that's exactly what we should've expected Bryant to say and exactly the wrong thing to say. The initial tweets reports on what Bryant said in his meeting with Howard included such profound thoughts as "we talked about winning", which sounds bizarre because it seems like they've been talking about that for about a year now.

If it's really true that Howard came into these meetings hoping to be wooed by the team that showed him the most love, it's difficult to see how Bryant's comments helped the Lakers' cause. Then again, as I said yesterday, if Howard does choose to remain in L.A. under those terms, he's far more mature than anyone gives him credit for.

Random tweet from Warriors: Just because...

Darren Collison seems to have a great reputation around the league: While perusing news about free agents the Warriors could be interested in should Jarrett Jack or Carl Landry leave, I found this story from The Plain Dealer about Darren Collison's reputation around the league.

Brendan Bowers writes for Stepien Rules that Collison has a great attitude that rubs off on his teammates and refers to coach Frank Vogel and center Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers, for whom Collison played two seasons: "...his commitment to team is real and contagious."

There isn't much reason not to want him on the roster, especially if the Warriors could get him relatively cheap (and wouldn't it be great if people said that about Dwight Howard too?). According to RealGM, Collison is "intrigued by four teams and hasn't yet ruled out a return to the Dallas Mavericks".

Has the free agent period already had a significant impact on the Western Conference? Shiomo Sprung of Sheridan Hoops looked at how free agency has already changed the face of the Western Conference even before Dwight Howard has made a decision about his future. The Tony Allen signing, while not particularly splashy, was noted as a great value pick up.

And just wait until Dwight Howard makes up his mind.

As usual, feel free to drop comments and random tidbits of information in the comments as it comes in throughout the day. If you find yourself needed to make an extended commentary about something, try making it a fan post. Fun random tweets you think should be on the front page? Make it a fan shot and drop the link in the comments so people can recommend it for promotion. Most of all, have a safe holiday whatever you're doing.

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