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Feb 24, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) gets the ball in the post against the Dallas Mavericks center Chris Kaman (35) at the American Airlines Center. The Lakers beat the Mavs 103-99. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Dwight Howard 'Really Likes' Dallas Mavericks

There is a growing belief that Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard is very unlikely to return to L.A. once he officially becomes a free agent on July 1. Once Howard is on the open market, Howard is expected to choose between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, with the hometown Atlanta Hawks being a dark horse.

According to the latest reports, the Mavericks may be the front-runners to land Dwight.

I’m told that (Howard) really likes the Mavericks,” ESPN’s Chris Broussard said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I think it’s neck and neck between the Mavericks and the Rockets. What he likes about Dallas is that it would be his franchise.”

Both Houston and Dallas are intriguing options for Howard, but Dallas would give him the opportunity to make the franchise his.

In Houston, Howard would have to deal with another high-tempo offense and a player in James Harden that loves to control the ball a la Kobe Bryant. The fact that the Rockets run the high pace offense could be enough to make Howard shy away, as he looks for a situation that will best fit his skill set.

Howard will reportedly make his decision on July 10, which is the first day he can sign with a new team, so stay tuned as we keep an eye on the latest rumors in the Dwight Howard saga.

Tags: Dallas Mavericks Dwight Howard NBA Free Agency

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