With NBA free agency starting at 12:01 a.m. (EDT) Monday, center Dwight Howard reportedly will meet with a Houston Rockets contingent that includes management, players and former star center Hakeem Olajuwon.
The meeting will take place in Los Angeles.
The Rockets plan to send general manager Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, Olajuwon and Rockets players James Harden and Chandler Parsons to recruit Howard.
Howard, a seven-time All-Star who played last season for the Lakers, also plans to meet with Dallas, Atlanta and possibly Golden State before talking with the Lakers.
The Dallas group, including owner Mark Cuban and star forward Dirk Nowitzki, will reportedly meet with Howard on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The Lakers can offer a max deal of $118 million for five seasons while other teams will be able to offer a maximum of $88 million over four years.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last week he was “optimistic” the team could persuade the 27-year-old Howard to re-sign.
Howard averaged 17.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in his lone turbulent season with the Lakers after spending the first eight years of his NBA career in Orlando after being the No. 1 overall pick straight out of high school by the Magic in 2004.
MCMILLAN JOINS PACERS
Nate McMillan will join Frank Vogel’s staff with the Indiana Pacers as an assistant coach, the Indianapolis Star reported.
McMillan, who played for (1986-98) and coached the Seattle SuperSonics (2000-05) in addition to coaching the Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12), would fill one of the two vacancies on Vogel’s staff after associate coach Brian Shaw was hired to coach the Denver Nuggets and assistant Jim Boylen left to become lead assistant under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
McMillan has a 478-452 record in 12 seasons as coach, making the playoffs five times.
McMillan also was an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski for the United States national team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.
The Toronto Raptors reportedly have joined the Magic at the head of the list of known suitors for Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe. … Forward Andrei Kirilenko is opting out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him $10 million next season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, making him a free agent. … Miami forward Udonis Haslem played through much of the second half of the season with a torn right meniscus, and needs surgery to repair the previously undisclosed injury. Haslem said he expects to be ready for camp.