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Mavericks plan to pursue Howard

The SportsXchange

The Dallas Mavericks believe they have a better shot of landing center Dwight Howard in free agency this summer than point guard Chris Paul, according to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.

The newspaper cited a source who said Paul is likely to stay with the Clippers because of the firing of coach Vinnie Del Negro. That means the chances of getting the disgruntled Howard from the Lakers are better. Howard is reportedly not enamored with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni.

"I think Chris Paul, depending on who (the Clippers) hire, is going to stay with the Clippers," the source said. "The Mavericks are really interested in Chris Paul, but I think they want Dwight more. They think they can make them a point guard."

The point guards the Mavericks are reportedly interested in are the Golden State Warriors' Jarrett Jack and Jerryd Bayless of the Memphis Grizzlies. Both players were important in getting their teams to the playoffs and will be free agents starting July 1.

The Mavericks are reportedly trying to trade their first round draft pick (No. 13 overall) to create salary-cap space to go after Howard.

The Lakers are in the best position to retain Howard because they can offer him a five-year, $118 million contract. No other team can offer more than a four-year, $87.6 million deal.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has said he is willing to take less money when he becomes a free agent next year to help the team acquire another star player.

Howard has listed the Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Lakers on his short list of teams for which he wants to sign.
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