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NBA roundup: Howard, Houston to meet in L.A

The SportsXchange

Center Dwight Howard is scheduled to meet with Houston Rockets representative in Los Angeles when free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to ESPN.

The group meeting with Howard includes Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, coach Kevin McHale, owner Les Alexander, former star center Hakeem Olajuwon, and current Rockets James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

ESPN The Magazine also reported that Howard plans to meet with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers can offer Howard the most years and money -- a max deal of $118 million for five seasons. Other teams can offer up to four years and $88 million.

Howard averaged 17.1 points and an NBA-best 12.4 rebounds per game this season.

Despite reports to the contrary, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told ESPN Los Angeles that he is optimistic the Lakers will re-sign Howard.

Free agents can begin officially signing contracts on July 10.

Howard reportedly plans to sign with a team on July 10 instead of extending the process. Kupchak read that as a good sign that Howard will return to the Lakers.

"It's in everybody's best interest, I think, to proceed in a timely fashion," Kupchak said

---The Dallas Mavericks have been in trade talks with the Boston Celtics about acquiring point guard Rajon Rondo, according to DallasBasketball.com.

The Celtics are reportedly interest in point guard Shane Larkin, whom the Mavericks selected in Thursday's draft with the No. 18 overall pick.

However, the Mavericks would have to take multiple contracts off their books to fit Rondo under the salary cap, Yahoo! Sports reported. Also, ESPN reported that the trade talks have not progressed because the Celtics are only interested in star forward Dirk Nowitzki.

--- Andrei Kirilenko on Saturday turned down $10.2 million guaranteed contract from the Minnesota Timberwolves to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 32-year-old small forward is seeking a three- or four-year deal. Kirilenko had until Saturday to make up his mind on an option year for next season and he went down to the final day before deciding from the south of France, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported

The Wolves still could re-sign their starting small forward from last season.

---Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that re-signing point guard Brandon Jennings is a priority.

The Bucks made a $4.3 million qualifying offer and can match any offers teams make to Jennings, who is a restricted free agent.

Jennings has been the Bucks starting point guard since he was drafted 10th overall in 2009. He averaged 17.5 points, a career-high 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 39.9 percent in 80 games.

---The Toronto Raptors are the latest team interested in trading for Los Angeles Clippers backup point guard Eric Bledsoe, according to ESPN.com.

The Raptors reportedly are openly shopping forward Andrea Bargnani and would likely include him in a deal involving Bledsoe. However, the Clippers are believed to be more interested in guard DeMar DeRozan.

Toronto may be willing to let go of DeRozan and his $40 million contract extension, especially since the team has Rudy Gay, another swingman.

---San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown wants to coach the Boston Celtics, according to the Boston Globe.

Brown is from Portland, Maine, and played basketball at Boston University. He also grew up a Celtics fan.

The Celtics reportedly have not contacted Brown. The job opened after Boston traded Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers early this week.
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