Report: Dwight Howard Favors Rockets or Mavericks, Plans to Take His Time Deciding Whether to Stay With Lakers

Kobe Bryant, Ivan JohnsonDwight Howard has said he doesn’t want a big, circus-like atmosphere surrounding his free agency decision this summer. But a small circus may do.

While the Lakers reportedly want to figure out quickly whether Howard will return, Howard “has privately indicated he plans to give strong consideration to multiple teams,” Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports league sources as saying.

“Howard re-signing with the Lakers is far from a done deal,” Berger says.

The Lakers’ ability to bring Howard back is hampered by the amount of money they have available — not for him as much as for his supporting cast. While Howard can get a larger contract by staying in Los Angeles, which can offer him a max deal, the Lakers may not be able to get other key players due to the large contracts the team has already handed out.

A couple of other teams, however, already have good pieces in place if they want to add Howard. Berger says Howard is most interested in the Rockets, who have a good core as well as Kevin McHale, who knows defense, as their coach. Houston also has some flexibility if it needs to move players to get Howard in the fold.

The Mavericks are another team that interests Howard, although Dallas will also have to move some pieces to offer him a contract.

While neither team could offer Howard the off-court marketing opportunities of Los Angeles, Howard’s time with the Lakers has been marked by enough friction that the hopes of quicker success elsewhere could lure him away.

None of that means Howard is ready to wrap his search up soon, though. This free agency season could become even more complicated than getting him out of Orlando was.