According to ESPN‘s Marc Stein, the Houston Rockets are seemingly growing more confident by the day that they can sign Dwight Howard to a max contract in July:
[pullquote]Free agency in the NBA is exactly one month away, but the Houston Rockets’ bid to steal Dwight Howard away from the Los Angeles Lakers is already gathering some momentum.
Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the Rockets have received what has been described as “hopeful signals” that Howard is seriously considering a jump from the Lakers to the Rockets after becoming a free agent July 1.
Although the Rockets are well aware that Howard has a penchant for changing his mind, sources say that Howard has conveyed his rising interest to Houston star swingman James Harden, a fellow West All-Star.[/pullquote]
Stein also reported that Howard will “field in-person recruiting visits from the Rockets and Dallas Mavericks” after July 1st. Other teams may also be added to the list, Stein writes.
As reported yesterday, the Houston Rockets are apparently trying to trade Thomas Robinson in a bid to clear enough cap space to offer Howard a max contract. Stein says that there’s a growing feeling around the league that the Rockets’ general manager, Daryl Morey, likes his chances of signing Howard this summer:
[pullquote]Several rival executives, meanwhile, told ESPN.com that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has likewise left the impression in recent days that Houston believes it has a legitimate shot at luring Howard away from the Lakers.[/pullquote]
With a young core in Houston, no state income taxes and an All-Star in James Harden who appears to be leading the recruiting process, the Rockets will likely be a threat to the Lakers once free agency begins on July 1st.