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Lakers Rumors: Breaking Down Teams' Chances of Stealing Dwight Howard from LA

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 21:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 21, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJune 30, 2013

Dwight Howard's time with the Los Angeles Lakers appears to be coming to an end, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine.

Broussard wrote on Friday:

Howard is willing to forgo the extra $30 million the Lakers can pay him to play for a coach and in a system he feels will better use his skill set, one source said.

The Lakers can offer Howard a five-year, $118 million contract, while other teams can pay him only $88 million over four years.

The question now becomes, which team has the best chance of landing Howard in free agency this summer?

Here's a look at the teams I believe have the greatest shot of acquiring the 27-year-old center.

 

4. Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors haven't been seriously linked to Dwight Howard this summer...until now.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted on Saturday:

It's worth noting that the Warriors are projected to have zero cap space, as noted by ShamSports.com. The team's salaries currently add up to more than $75 million, which is above the luxury tax threshold. 

Of course, the Warriors could acquire Howard in a sign-and-trade, and offering up big man Andrew Bogut in a package for Howard may appeal to the Lakers.

While Bogut has had his fair share of injuries in recent years, he showed in the playoffs last season that he can be a difference-maker when he's on the floor. Bogut averaged 10.9 boards and 1.5 blocks in 12 postseason games for the Warriors. 

Right now, I'm putting them on the outside looking in.

 

3. Atlanta Hawks

According to Broussard's report, Howard joining the Atlanta Hawks is a "long shot." 

It's not that difficult to imagine why. The Hawks are in a rebuilding stage with forward Josh Smith entering free agency. The last thing Howard wants to do is join a team in a rebuilding stage.

On top of that, Georgia has state tax unlike Texas, which means he would be leaving more money on the table than if he joined, say, the Dallas Mavericks or Houston Rockets.

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it rather bluntly on Thursday:

 

2. Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are certainly in the discussion for Howard.

According to SportsCenter—branching off the report by ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman—owner Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki will meet with Howard on Tuesday:

Chris Broussard told Fitzsimmons and Durrett on KESN-FM this week, per the Dallas Morning News: "Personally, I think the Rockets are his best option. But I'm told that he really likes the Mavericks."

Why does Howard really like the Mavericks? Well, according to Broussard, not only would he be the main star on the team with Nowitzki on his last legs, the Mavericks have the cap space in 2014 to add some talent around him.

On top of that, Texas has no state taxes, so taking fewer years and less money than he would with the Lakers doesn't sting as much.

 

1. Houston Rockets

The allure of the Rockets is obvious. Howard would be able to play with All-Star James Harden, as well as young players Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons, with the idea of winning now.

The addition of Harden last season changed everything for Houston. So did the development of Parsons.

Harden averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals last season. Parsons averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists while knocking down an average of two three-pointers per game. Not only does Howard have two distributors in Harden and Lin to work with, Parsons can space the floor, shooting 39 percent from downtown last season.

That isn't even mentioning big man Omer Asik, who could do the dirty work defensively (not that Howard doesn't want to do the dirty work down low...).

And, of course, the Rockets also reside in Texas, which doesn't have state tax.

 

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