Dwight Howard Trade to Houston Rockets Predicted for Free Agent Despite Kobe Bryant Challenge

Dwight Howard is rumored to be close to signing a contract with the Houston Rockets. 

The 27-year-old basketball player is currently a free agent and has been in meetings with The Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Lakers and Houston Rockets throughout this week. 

Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted that although Howard has not specified which team he has chosen, NBA sources have indicated that he is leaning toward signing a contract with the Rockets. 

"This is Dwight Howard, so no one close to this thing prepared to say they're SURE, but more & more NBA whispers today have Rockets in lead," Stein wrote on Friday. 

ESPN also indicated that Golden State is still in the running, after they made a good impression on Howard, during their meeting on Wednesday. Sources said the Warriors got Howard's attention during the team's pitch, which owner Joe Lacob, coach Mark Jackson, general manager Bob Myers and special Warriors consultant Jerry West were all a part of.

Howard spent last season with the Lakers, averaging 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds, while playing through shoulder and back injuries.

On Tuesday, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and current players Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and other members of the organization, met with Howard for about two hours.

''At the meeting, we told him how important he is to the Lakers team, franchise, fans and community, and why we feel this is the best place for him to continue his career,'' Kupchak said in a statement released by the team. ''We are hopeful that Dwight decides to remain a Laker.''

Bryant also challenged Howard and said that he must be willing to learn how to win championships first. 

"You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here," Bryant told Howard during the Lakers' presentation. "I know how to do it and I've learned from the best--players who have won multiple times over and over."

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